In most situations, yes. In a majority of states, an award for personal injury will be reduced by the amount that the injured person was negligent.

For example, if the accident fault for an automobile collision was determined to be 80% the fault of the other driver and 20% your own fault, your award for your injuries would be lessened by 20%. So, if your injuries totaled an amount of $10,000, you would receive $8,000. This is called the rule of “comparative negligence.”

However, there are a few states that follow the older rule of “contributory negligence.” Under this rule, if you were at all responsible for your accident, then you are banned from receiving any award for your personal injuries. Even in contributory negligence states, however, you may still get some money for your injuries by negotiating with the insurance company.

Because of the mathematical nature of this calculation, you may think that there is some sort of formula that insurance companies use to determine the amount of fault to assign. However, this is not true. As with most things in life, determining the amount of blame that can be placed on you will most likely boil down to a negotiation. The claim adjuster for the insurance company may come to you with a percentage, and you can either accept their determination or make an argument that their calculation is not correct.

Before negotiating, plan out some settlement amounts stepping down to the amount you think is fair. The adjusters are very accustomed to negotiating in this manner. They expect to make an initial offer and then two to four additional offers so plan to do the same with your offers.