Yes, you may still be able to sue for your injuries as a pedestrian in Wisconsin even if you are partly responsible for the accident. Wisconsin follows a modified contributory negligence rule, which means that you can still recover damages as long as you are not more than 50% at fault for the accident.
If the pedestrian is found to be 49% or less at fault, then the pedestrian may be successful but their recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault that was assigned to them. In the last instance, if both parties are equally found to be negligent (i.e. 50/50), then the other party too will not be at fault. Keep in mind, to be found contributorily negligent, you must have done something wrong, incorrect, or improper which lowers the standard of care that an average pedestrian would take in the same situation.
How is Contributory Negligence Calculated?
Contributory negligence is calculated based upon a series of questions which is posed to the jury members. When this occurs, the jury is generally asked a series of questions was part of their jury instructions. One of the first and most important questions asked to the jury is, who is at fault? This question is formed in a manner which asks whether a person was negligent on a particular date. This question is followed up by other questions such whether such negligence was a cause of the injury caused to the pedestrian. The same questions will be asked in regard to the pedestrian and the motorist. If these questions are answered in the affirmative, then there will be what is known as causal negligence.
Once causal negligence is established, the jury will then be asked to allocate what percentage of liability each person should be assigned based on a total of 100% attributable liability. In this case, if only one person is found to be negligent, then the question of attributable liability does not have to be answered because only one person was causally negligent and caused the harm.
However, if both parties are negligent, then the question must be answered. After this occurs, the following questions will pertain to what sum of money will be appropriate to compensate the plaintiff for his or her injuries. The compensation will depend upon several factors which the jury will consider such as past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering and similar factors which may affect the basis for compensation.
It’s important to note that Wisconsin’s comparative negligence rule applies to both parties involved in the accident. This means that if the driver was also partially at fault for the accident, their damages award may also be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them.
If you believe that you may be partially at fault for the accident, it’s still important to speak with a personal injury attorney to understand your legal options and determine whether you have a viable case. An attorney can help you gather evidence to support your case and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
If you have questions about this article or if you would like to have a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced attorney about your personal injury case, please call us at (414) 306-8999 or write to us using the contact form on this page.