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Understanding Comparative Negligence in Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases often rely on negligence as an essential criterion for liability and compensation determination, yet not all situations involve clear-cut responsibility on one party; when multiple parties share some degree of fault, comparative negligence comes into play. This article from Precision PT and Med intends to explain its use within personal injury litigation as well as its potential effects on awarding compensation to injured parties.

Establishing Comparative Negligence

In personal injury cases, parties often use the legal principle of comparative negligence to assign responsibility and damages based on their respective levels of negligence or fault. It acknowledges that more than one party can contribute to an incident, assigning liability accordingly. Furthermore, comparative negligence provides that even when injured parties share some responsibility for their own injuries they still may receive some form of compensation- albeit reduced in proportion with their degree of fault.

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Different Types of Comparative Negligence

There are two primary forms of comparative negligence, which are pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence.

Pure Comparative Negligence: Under pure comparative negligence, injured parties can still claim compensation even when found to be mostly at fault for an incident; compensation awarded would be reduced proportionately with their percentage of responsibility; for example if someone were found 30 percent responsible in causing an accident that caused damages totalling $100,000 and this court finds them eligible to receive 70% (70% of total damages awarded).

Modified Comparative Negligence: Modified comparative negligence can be divided into two subcategories, known as 50% and 51% rules, when considering negligence claims.

a. 50/50 Rule: In states that adhere to this principle, an injured party can recover damages if their degree of responsibility for an incident does not surpass 50%. Otherwise they are disqualified from seeking any form of compensation.
b. 51% Rule: Under the 51% Rule, an injured party can receive damages as long as their percentage of fault does not surpass 51%; any further fault surpassing this threshold disqualifies them from receiving compensation.

Personal Injury

*No Cost

  • Exam and Advanced Referrals
  • Physical Assessment & Consultation
  • Attorney referrals if needed
  • Medical managed physical therapy and chiropractic visits
  • We offer non-opioid mail order
  • pharmaceuticals if needed

Effect on Personal Injury Cases

Comparative negligence can have an enormous effect on personal injury cases in various ways.

Determining Liability: Comparative negligence allows for more nuanced assessments of liability, recognising that multiple parties may share fault to various degrees. To establish this proportion of responsibility each party bears, an extensive examination of evidence, witness testimonies, and expert opinions must be conducted to establish responsibility.

Reducing Compensation: Comparative negligence has an immediate and dramatic effect on the compensation awarded to injured parties, directly impacting how much compensation they will receive in damages awards. Their share of fault will reduce damages proportionately – for instance if an individual was found 20 percent responsible and their total damages totalled $50,000, their compensation would be reduced accordingly – in this scenario it would drop from $50K to $40k.

Insurance Adjustments: Comparative negligence can have a major effect on insurance claims and settlements. When assessing liability and calculating their obligations to pay out claims, insurance companies often factor in comparative fault between all involved. If an injured party can be shown as partially at fault for an incident, compensation from their insurer may be reduced accordingly.

Settlement Negotiations: Comparative negligence can have a dramatic impact on settlement negotiations between the parties involved, with assigning fault and bargaining power being decided according to comparative negligence principles affecting bargaining power and potential settlement amounts for each side. Parties may consider what could occur at trial based on comparative negligence when making their decision as to whether to reach an agreement through settlement negotiations or litigation.

Legal Representation Is of Utmost Importance

Due to the complexity of comparative negligence in personal injury cases, it is imperative for injured parties to seek legal representation. An experienced personal injury attorney can assess and gather evidence related to your case to establish liability and mitigate its effect.

Attorneys can represent injured parties during negotiations or trials to secure fair assessment of fault and compensation amounts, drawing upon their knowledge of law and precedent to present the case favorably and protect their client’s rights.

Conclusion

Understanding comparative negligence is integral for successfully handling personal injury cases with shared fault. This framework serves to allocate liability and determine compensation according to each party’s degree of negligence, acknowledging that even though they bear some responsibility for their injuries they still may be eligible for some form of relief despite this.

If you find yourself involved in a personal injury case where comparative negligence could play a factor, enlisting the services of a skilled personal injury attorney is key to your case’s success. They will guide you through the legal process while gathering evidence in support of obtaining a fair settlement or judgment that takes into account this principle of comparative negligence.

Personal Injury

*No Cost

  • Exam and Advanced Referrals
  • Physical Assessment & Consultation
  • Attorney referrals if needed
  • Medical managed physical therapy and chiropractic visits
  • We offer non-opioid mail order
  • pharmaceuticals if needed

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