Written on Jul 24, 2023 6:00:00 AM
Pure vs. Modified Comparative Negligence
The legal concept of comparative negligence is an important one, and it can be applied in two different ways: pure vs. modified comparative negligence.
In either case, the law seeks to assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in an accident or incident of injury. This helps to determine who is liable for damages and how much they must pay out.
Understanding the difference between these two types of comparative negligence is essential for anyone dealing with car accidents or personal injury cases. Here we will explore what pure and modified comparative negligence are, as well as when they might be used in court proceedings.
Overview of Negligence in Accident or Injury Claims
Negligence is a commonly used legal term that involves the failure of one party to take reasonable care in their actions, such as failing to act safely when driving or providing a safe environment.
Negligence can be used as grounds for an accident or injury claim when it is determined that an individual’s careless behavior caused another person physical harm or financial loss. In cases of negligence, the injured individual must be able to prove that the person who allegedly caused them harm was indeed negligent.
The concept of comparative negligence is an important one to understand when dealing with personal injury cases. Pure and modified comparative negligence are two separate systems used to assign a percentage of responsibility for damages to each party involved in an accident or incident of injury.
When bringing an injury or accident claim, comparative negligence is a defense used when both parties are found to have some degree of fault. Comparative negligence looks at the percentage of fault each party held and assigns a corresponding percentage of responsibility for the damages.
The Key Difference Between Shared Fault Systems
The key difference between pure and modified comparative negligence is the amount of fault that must be attributed to the injured party in order for them to receive compensation. While a modified comparative fault system only allows an individual to recover damages if they are less than 50% responsible, a person can still receive some compensation under a pure comparative negligence system even if they are mostly at fault.
Various Modified Comparative Negligence Rules
Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule
The 50% rule is the most common form of modified comparative negligence. Under this system, an injured party can only recover damages from another person if they are deemed less than 50% responsible for their own injuries.
Modified Comparative Negligence – 51% Rule
The 51% rule is similar to the 50% rule but slightly stricter in that it requires the injured party to be less than 51% responsible for their own injuries in order to recover damages.
Modified Comparative Negligence – 49% Rule
The 49% rule is slightly more lenient than the 50% and 51% rules, as it allows an injured party to recover damages if they are found to be less than 49% responsible for their own injuries.
Modified Comparative Negligence – Slight vs. Gross Rule
The slight vs. gross rule is based on the amount of negligence the injured party has exercised. Under this system, an injured party can only recover damages from another person if their own degree of fault is deemed to have been minor or “slight” compared to that of the other person.
In addition to the various comparative negligence systems, some states also operate on a no-fault insurance system. Under this system, an injured party can receive compensation for their losses regardless of who is found at fault for the accident.
How Does Modified Comparative Negligence Work?
Understanding the Modified Comparative Fault Rule
Under modified comparative negligence, an injured party can only recover damages from another person if they are deemed less than 50% responsible for their own injuries. If the injured party is found to be 51% or more at fault for their own injuries, they are not eligible to receive any compensation from another person for their damages.
States That Follow Modified Comparative Negligence
Most states adhere to the modified comparative negligence rule. These include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
Example of Comparative Negligence
Joe and Bob are involved in a car accident. Joe was traveling at the speed limit when Bob ran a red light and hit him. In this instance, Joe would be deemed partially responsible for the accident due to his failure to take account of changing traffic conditions or slow down before entering the intersection.
Bob, on the other hand, would be found primarily responsible as he ran a red light and caused the accident.
Using the concept of comparative negligence, a court might find Joe to be 40% responsible for the accident and Bob to be 60% responsible. In this case, Joe would only be able to recover damages from Bob for up to 60% of his total losses.
Other Types of Comparative Fault
In addition to pure comparative fault and modified comparative fault, there are other forms of comparative fault that vary by state. These include:
- Contributory Negligence (where the injured party is not eligible for any compensation if found to be partially at fault)
- Comparative Fault with No Mitigation (where the amount of damages awarded will be reduced based on the injured party’s level of responsibility)
- Proportionate Comparative Negligence (where damages are apportioned among the parties based on their degree of fault)
Pure Contributory Negligence
In a pure contributory negligence state, if the injured party is found to be even 1% at fault for their own injuries, they are not eligible to receive any compensation from another person. Because of this, it is very difficult for injured parties in these states to recover damages through an injury claim.
Example of Contributory Negligence
Let's revisit Joe and Bob. Using the concept of contributory negligence, if it is found that Joe was even 1% responsible for the accident, he would be not eligible to receive any compensation from Bob for his damages.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Under pure comparative negligence, even if the injured party is mostly at fault for their own injuries, they can still recover damages from the other party up to the amount of their own share of fault. For example, if an individual is found to be 70% at fault and the other party is 30% at fault, the injured party can still recover up to 70% of their damages.
Example of Pure Comparative Negligence
Using the above example, if Joe is found to be 70% responsible for the accident and Bob is 30% responsible, Joe would still be able to recover up to 70% of his damages from Bob.
It’s important to note that states adopting a pure comparative negligence system usually limit how much compensation an injured party can receive after factoring in their percentage of fault.
When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Hernando County
As with any legal issue, it is advised to speak to an experienced attorney in order to determine which type of comparative negligence is applicable in your case. By understanding the differences between pure and modified comparative negligence, you can work toward an equitable outcome.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident in Hernando County, contact the hometown team at Lowman Law Firm today. Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to fight for Florida car accident victims. Our mission is to get you the financial compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation on your personal injury claim.