Understanding Comparative Negligence: A Comprehensive Guide

Injuries suffered in accidents can be expensive, resulting in medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other damages. If you have been in a car accident and sustained injuries, you may have the right to receive compensation for the damages caused. Hiring a personal injury lawyer and filing a lawsuit can be very helpful to receive the compensation you deserve. However, not every accident is black and white, and the degree of fault attributed to each party can vary. Please remember that your state might impact your ability to file a compensation lawsuit in case of an injury. When someone initiates a personal injury claim, they usually believe the party responsible for their injuries is at fault. However, this is only sometimes the case.

Laws governing comparative negligence vary between states. Some use a contributory negligence rule that bars recovery if a victim’s fault exceeds a certain threshold.

Contributory Negligence

Whether a driver is involved in a car accident or a pedestrian is injured after slipping and falling in a store, there is typically at least one person to blame. When someone gets injured, they may file a claim against the person or entity responsible for causing the harm. The injured person may seek compensation for the losses and damages they suffered. Depending on their state, the victim’s level of culpability can significantly impact their financial recovery.

In most cases, states abide by the comparative negligence law, which permits injury victims to pursue compensation for their losses, even if they are deemed partly responsible for the accident. However, what is significant is the type of comparative negligence a state utilizes. There are three types of comparative negligence, and each has its nuances that should be understood by anyone filing a personal injury claim.

Depending on the state in which you live, this can impact whether you can sue for damages. For instance, comparative negligence laws in Pennsylvania allow partially liable injured parties to receive damages still – but the percentage of their award will be diminished.

Pure Comparative Negligence

Most states use modified comparative fault laws, but thirteen still adhere to the pure form of the rule. In pure comparative negligence states, the degree of the plaintiff’s guilt determines their overall settlement amount. The higher their degree of guilt, the lower their payout will be.

Modified Comparative Negligence

A few states rely on a modified version of comparative negligence, and how this rule is applied is essential for accident victims to understand. In these states, a jury will determine the defendant’s share of responsibility for an accident, and then the jury will compare this number to the plaintiff’s share of responsibility. The injured parties will then split the remaining proportion of fault equally between themselves and the defendant and award them accordingly.

In contrast, states that use the contributory negligence rule bar a victim from recovering from a defendant if they are at fault for the accident. Suppose the jury determines that the plaintiff did not take reasonable precautions for their safety and played a role in causing their injury. In that case, they cannot seek compensation from the defendant. This is why consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is essential to obtain critical insights about comparative negligence in your jurisdiction.

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