Comparative negligence is a partial defense to negligence claims. It reduces the amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover, but does not bar the plaintiff from recovering at all. It is the replacement in most jurisdictions for contributory negligence.
When comparative negligence is raised as a partial defense, the fact-finding entity (typically a jury) must decide how much effect the plaintiff’s actions had on the overall accident. This means that the jury typically determines what percentage each party contributed to the overall accident. The jury weights the plaintiff’s negligence against the defendant’s negligence.
With time, the other two versions were combined into “modified” comparative negligence. This type allows a plaintiff to recover damages if he or she has contributed less than half of the total amount of negligence. As long as the plaintiff’s negligence is less than the defendant’s, the plaintiff can still collect for damages.
The biggest difference between the two forms of modified comparative negligence is through the lawyers handling the case. It is thought that juries who assign the degree of fault are much less willing to award damages to a plaintiff who is equally at fault than to one who is less at fault than the defendant.
If you have been injured by another person’s reckless or negligent actions, contact the Lake Geneva personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 1-800-275-1729 to discuss your legal options.