In a car accident, one of the first and most important things to determine is “who was at fault?”
The plaintiff, or the one filing the lawsuit or making the insurance claim, should first prove that the defendant was at fault or negligent.
But if both parties have a certain level of negligence in their part, it may be hard to determine who was really at fault.
Sometimes, the defendant can even establish a defense to minimize or even avoid any liability.
There are scenarios when both parties have their own contribution to the accident, or they both have an amount of negligence during the event.
This makes it hard to determine which one was at fault. The idea of comparative and contributory negligence can help solve this issue and come up with a way to allocate fault between the parties involved in the accident.
First, it would be wise to learn the meaning of negligence in its legal definition.
Negligence is when the conduct of an individual leads to unreasonable harm to other people.
If your negligence leads to another person getting injured, then you should pay for the damages.
Contributory negligence consists of a conduct that leads to damage to one’s self.
If the person is not acting reasonably and inflicts damage to one’s self, that individual may be held responsible, even if another party was involved in an accident.
This means the victim was also injured due to his or her own negligence. One example is when a person crosses a street where crossing is prohibited and was hit by a car.
The car driver, who can easily be the defendant in this case, can push for a contributory negligence claim.
This will prove that the plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident and for the injury he or she incurred.
If the defendant proves the contributory negligence claim against the plaintiff, then the accident victim may only get partial compensated for the injuries he or she incurred.
Comparative negligence allocates the faults between the parties involved in the accident, which means the victim was also partially at fault.
In comparative negligence, if it is proven that the victim was somehow also at fault, he or she will be barred from any form of compensation.
Guidelines for comparative negligence vary from state to state.
Generally, there are two rules being followed.
One rule is the pure comparative negligence where the victim’s compensation will reflect how much he or she has contributed to one’s own injury.
The other rule is the modified comparative negligence where the victim can’t get any compensation if he or she is equally responsible or has a higher degree of fault to the defendant.
How do you prove that the victim was in fact negligent? Examples of negligence in the victim’s part includes speeding while driving, making sudden movements as a pedestrian, riding with a drunk or reckless driver, interfering with the car driver, and more.
To make sure you get the compensation you deserve, it is always best to consult and hire a lawyer.