Comparative Negligence and the Innocent Passenger
You were riding as a passenger in a friend or relative’s car and there is a bad accident. Your friend is determined by comparing negligence between the various drivers in the accident that they are 40% at fault, driver number 2 at 40%, and the last driver at 20%. It turns out the driver of the car you were in is without insurance as well as driver number 2. Both were equally at fault at 40%. The remaining driver who has insurance is 20% at fault. Who can you recover from and how much, given the fact that only driver who has insurance is only 20% at fault? Do you recover 100% of your damages from the driver who has insurance, 40%, 20% or nothing? Can you be found at fault and if so, is that reduced from your recovery?
The answer to the above problem is you are allowed to recover under Wisconsin’s comparative negligence law, the amount of your damages, reduced by the percentage of negligence attributable to the various drivers involved in the accident; that means 40% against driver number 1, 40% against driver number 2 and 20% against the only insured driver. It is unfortunate that the two most principally negligent drivers have no insurance to recover from. This leaves you with recovering your damages from the driver who is the least responsible for how the accident happened. If you have $100,000 in damages and the other driver is only 20% at fault, you can recover 20% of your damages against that particular driver and their insurance company, in this case, $20,000. That may hardly seem fair where you have a $100,000 case, but they are not obligated to pay 100% of your damages, only the portion that they are legally responsible for under the law.
In terms of contributory negligence, you as a passenger ordinarily would have no negligence assigned to you and your damages would not and cannot be reduced by any contributory negligence, unless you were not wearing your seat belt, by example, or in some other way contributed to how the accident may have happened.
If you have been involved in bad car accident as a passenger, feel free to call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. today. We have been representing individuals seriously hurt in accidents for over 34 years. We have handled thousands of accident cases over the years, and are recovery for our clients is in the excess of $100,000,000. We offer a free initial consultation and there never is any fee unless an injured party is successful in the outcome of their case. Call today at 414 453 0800 to set your initial visit with us.