What Is Comparative Fault?

Law Blog

Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be a pretty arduous experience. You will need to deal with a lot of paperwork and a lot of laws, which means that you might get a little overwhelmed. To help you out, here is a brief overview of one of the most important laws that you will need to deal with: comparative negligence.

What is comparative negligence?

In simple terms, comparative negligence is a doctrine that weighs the responsibility of the plaintiff when it comes to calculating compensation. If the plaintiff did play a role in their injury, such as engaging in reckless behavior, then their compensation could be reduced proportionally to that level of responsibility.

For example, if the defense can prove that you were 25% responsible for your injuries, then you could have your compensation reduced by 25%. However, there are quite a few different types of comparative negligence, and some are much stricter than others.

Pure Comparative Negligence

This first category is essentially the definition listed above. If the other party can prove that you were partially responsible, then you might lose out on some compensation. However, there are no further penalties that you will need to deal with.

This is practiced in 12 states, including California and New York. This ultimately means that huge portions of the population are subject to pure comparative negligence, even though only a small minority of states subscribe to it.

Modified Comparative Negligence

This is almost the same as pure comparative negligence, but with a slight twist. If you are found to be more than half responsible for your injury, then you will actually lose the rights to any compensation at all. In some states, the cutoff is specifically at 50%, while it's 51% in others.

If your state does practice modified comparative negligence, then you need to be aware of the evidence that the defense can bring to the table. If they have something that could prove that you were more than half responsible, then you need to either reevaluate whether a lawsuit is the right option for you or create a counterargument that will prove that you were less than half responsible.

Contributory Negligence

Finally, your state might subscribe to contributory negligence, which is an extremely strict system. If you are found to bear even 1% of the responsibility for your injuries, then you lose the rights to any compensation at all. For this reason, filing a personal injury lawsuit in a contributory negligence state is a bad idea unless you have an airtight case. Contact your local attorney for more information about your state's comparative negligence policies. 


28 January 2016

Learning How To Heal

After you have endured a traumatic, life-changing car accident, it can be hard to transition back into your everyday routine. As friends and family members chat about upcoming outlet mall sales or holiday plans, you might be secretly worried about how to pay your medical bills or forget about that wreck. Fortunately, dealing with your car accident case proactively by working with an attorney can really help. After I was involved in a car accident a few years back, my attorney stood by my side and helped me to argue for what was rightfully mine. I made this website to teach others what to do if they are involved in an accident.