Comparative Negligence Versus Contributory Negligence

Car accident situations can be complex, and there are many elements involved. They can become even messier if it is not clear who is at fault, as a car accident lawyer like one from Therman Law Offices, LTD knows. Understanding who contributed in a car accident is necessary to see who is eligible to be awarded damages and who is at fault. To determine this, states have legal doctrines known as comparative negligence and contributory negligence laws. Negligence is determined differently across various states. They determine the percentage of fault and the amount of damages you can receive. You can learn how these laws are applied to your case by speaking with a car accident lawyer. 

Pure Comparative Negligence 

In this negligence system, parties can be awarded damages regardless of their role in the accident. It doesn’t matter how negligent a party is, they can remain eligible to recover monetary compensation in states that adopt pure comparative negligence. This is also true if the driver’s percentage of fault is much higher than the victim’s. 

Modified Comparative Negligence

In states that operate with the modified comparative negligence system, there are certain limitations put in place. If the victim’s degree of fault extends past a certain limit, then they may not recover compensation. An example is when both the driver and victim are both at fault. The victim in that case must have a lower degree of fault in order to recover compensation, which is usually less than half the percentage of fault. 

Contributory Negligence

In contrast to the comparative negligence laws, contributory negligence laws is an older system that is adopted in fewer states. These negligence laws are viewed as much harsher. Under this system, accident victims are not able to recover any compensation at all if there is evidence that they were negligent and partially contributed to the accident. This is true even if their percentage of fault is small, such as traveling a few miles over the speed limit. This system makes it challenging for victims to recover compensation.

Understanding the differences between comparative negligence and contributory negligence laws is not always easy, but you can speak with a lawyer and they will explain how the laws apply to your case. If you are concerned that a liability issue will negatively affect your chances at recovering compensation, a lawyer will prepare a case so that you can recover whatever you may be entitled to. Learn more about what a personal injury lawyer can do for you by scheduling a consultation at no cost.