Written on Feb 28, 2013 10:44:00 AM
What is Comparative Negligence?
Topics: auto accident news
Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, ATV and golf cart accidents, slip and falls…sadly, accidents like these happen every day. And when these accidents are caused by negligence, someone who is injured in the accident may file a claim against the person who caused the accident to cover medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. Sometimes the person who caused the accident is 100% to blame.
Other times, both parties share some of the blame for the accident. This is when comparative negligence comes into play. Comparative negligence is a legal defense that claims the plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident and their injuries. When this happens, it must be determined (by a jury or through mediation) how much blame is assigned to each party, creating a more accurate assessment of who is to blame for the accident. Ultimately, comparative negligence affects the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover in a negligence-based claim, based on the percentage of blame that can be placed on the plaintiff for their own injuries.
Comparative Negligence Example 1
To better explain comparative negligence, let’s look at an example. Person A rear-ends his car into Person B’s car, causing injury. Person B files a claim against Person A in the amount of $10,000. However, Person B was not wearing his seatbelt. Person A may use a comparative negligence defense to claim that since Person B did not wear his seatbelt, he contributed to his own injuries. If a jury decides that Person A is 60% responsible and Person B is 40% responsible, the amount of damages Person B can collect is reduced by 40%. In other words, this means that the most Person B can collect would be 60% of the $10,000 (which is $6,000).
*Importantly, even if Person B was deemed 90% responsible for his own injuries, he can still file a claim for 10% of the damages from Person A if Person A is deemed 10% responsible for the accident.
Comparative Negligence Example 2
In this example, a driver is speeding and hits a pedestrian with his car. The pedestrian files a claim against the driver for $10,000 for his injuries. However, it turns out the pedestrian was jaywalking when the accident occurred. Through the comparative negligence defense, it is determined that the pedestrian was 50% responsible for his own injuries. This reduces the amount of damages the pedestrian can collect by 50%, meaning the most he can collect is $5,000 (50% of the $10,000 claim equals $5,000).
The examples noted here were created for explanation purposes only and are not meant as a guide for determining the amount of damages or percent of blame that is typical in each type of case. Each case is different. Please speak with an experienced attorney about your specific case.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, then you may qualify for damages to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and possibly your pain and suffering. You need an experienced attorney by your side to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. At Lowman Law we understand the complicated nature of accident cases and can help you recover damages. We also understand the comparative negligence defense and want to make sure that you are treated fairly in your accident case. Call Lowman Law Firm today to speak with an experienced accident lawyer about your case. Consultations are free and we don't charge you a fee unless we win your case! Call: 1-800-9-LOWMAN (toll free) or 352-796-0016.