Negligence is generally the first element of an accident in determining who was at fault for the injuries or personal damages. Sometimes, though, the victim can be partially at fault. While these individuals can still collect compensation for damages, if they are found to be partially at fault, it can reduce or completely abolish the amount of financial compensation they may have otherwise received. In situations like this, comparative negligence must be determined, which means that a jury has to decide whether or not the victim’s behavior played a role in causing damage.
Percentage of Faults
In cases that involve comparative negligence, juries must determine how responsible each party was for the accident. If the victim is found to be partially accountable, they are not eligible to collect full damages. For example, if one person is speeding and other moves into their lane without signaling, both drivers may both be held accountable. If one of the drivers was injured, they would only receive 50% of the compensation because it was 50% their fault.
States and Regulations
The laws concerning comparative negligence are very strict, and many states vary on the type of reimbursement for damages that they will award to victims. There are currently four systems used in the United States. These include the following.
- Pure contributory negligence
- Pure comparative negligence
- Modified comparative negligence-51% bar rule
- Modified comparative negligence-50% bar rule
Pure Contributory Negligence Law
Currently, only five states follow the pure contributory negligence law. This means that if the injured party has been found to be at fault at all, they cannot receive any money for damages. Thirteen states follow the pure comparative negligence law where a judge and jury determine the percentage of fault for each party. Eleven states currently use the 50% bar rule system, meaning that if the injured individual is found to be less than 50% at fault, they are eligible to receive compensation for damages.
The remaining states use the 51 percent bar rule where the party that is less than 51% responsible for the accident is allowed to obtain compensation.