Traditionally, all states allowed victims of accidents to pursue compensation only if they had no role in causing the accident. This legal doctrine, known as contributory negligence, could lead to some very harsh results. For instance, even someone with a very minor role in their own accident could wind up getting no help with medical bills, lost wages, and the like, at least not from the person primarily responsible for the accident.
Fortunately, most states have adopted another system to replace the traditional system of contributory negligence. Missouri, for example, uses what is called comparative fault. In a comparative fault system, the victim first proves that another person was responsible for their injuries. Once a judge or jury is sufficiently convinced, then they will reduce the amount of damages the victim receives, depending on what degree they believe the victim was responsible.
So, by way of example, a jury may award an accident victim $1 million in their personal injury claim. However, if the jury then determines that the victim was 50 percent at fault, then the victim will actually receive $500,000 compensation. Unlike other states, Missouri allows comparative fault in just about all cases, meaning that even if this victim were 90 percent at fault, they could still recover $100,000.
The good news is that residents of Kansas City and the surrounding area, at least on the Missouri side of the river, can still get recovery even in those all too common circumstances in which they are partially responsible for their own injuries. Speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney can be an important first step.