What is a Comparative Negligence?
There are quite a few instances in which an accident or occurrence can be attributed to more than one party. Prior to the concept of comparative negligence, victims were not able to collect any damages if they were partially responsible for the accident in which they were involved. Now, thanks to comparative negligence, victims can still have a legal claim even if they may have also been somewhat responsible for the accident.
Comparative Negligence In a Car Accident Case
Suppose that you were involved in an accident when you were proceeding through an intersection with a green signal, and you were the one who was injured. You are going a little bit faster than the posted limit, but because your light is green, you have the right of way. Another vehicle is approaching and goes through the red light, colliding with your vehicle as a result.
Although it is obvious that the other motorist is to blame for the collision, it is possible that it could have been averted if you had slowed down. In that scenario, it’s possible that you could be held partially responsible for the collision.
When more than one party is to blame for an incident, a judge or jury will typically allocate a percentage of fault to each of the parties. The other driver might have been 95% at fault, while you were only 5% responsible for the accident that was described above. Following that, the sum of money that you are eligible to receive as a result of your legal claim will be decreased based on this percentage.
For example, if you have $10,000 in damages, for example, you will only be able to collect $9,500 from the other motorist since you are responsible for a portion of the accident.
For example, if you have $10,000 in damages, for example, you will only be able to collect $9,500 from the other motorist since you are responsible for a portion of the accident. In spite of the fact that your damages will be lower as a result of your comparative negligence, you will still be able to recover the majority of your losses.
Other Ways to Handle Comparative Negligence
Comparative negligence can often be broken down into two categories. The type of Comparative Negligence used will vary from state to state.
- Pure Comparative Negligence: Plaintiffs in the states that follow this approach are able to recover damages even if they were primarily responsible for the accident that caused the damages. In the scenario that we just discussed, the person who hit you could actually file a lawsuit against you, claiming that your reckless driving caused them to suffer financial losses. Although it is unlikely that the other motorist will prevail in this instance, it is possible that you or your insurance company will be responsible for paying for 5% of the damages incurred by them.
- Modified Comparative Negligence: This is the model that the majority of states use. Under the principle of modified comparative negligence, a person who was more than 51% responsible for the accident cannot be awarded damages for their injuries. This indicates that you would not be eligible for compensation for your losses if the crash was primarily due to your actions.
You should always contact an attorney if you believe the other party is at-fault for the accident.
Your attorney will help determine fault and liability. They will be able to tell you whether or not you’re able to receive compensation for your losses. Without the help of an attorney, you run the risk of being taken advantage of by the insurance company.
The Brown Firm has a team of lawyers who can help you. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today.
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