In a personal injury case, when more than one party can be accused of failing to act like a normal, reasonable person, that is, when more than one party is negligent, then the issue of comparative negligence becomes important. For example, suppose an accident involves one car that was speeding in the fog, but the other was driving without its lights on: which is at fault?
In cases when the negligence
of each party involved contributed in some way to the cause of the accident, the responsibility to the other person(s) is reduced by the others' degree of negligence. That is, if a jury rules that the driver speeding in the fog was 60% responsible for the accident, while the driver without vehicle lights was 40% responsible, and the latter was supposed to receive $20,000, then his recovery would be reduced by the degree of his negligence. In this case, he would lose $8,000, leaving his total recovery at $12,000. State laws vary on if the speeding driver would recover anything at all; in some states the driver who bears more than half the responsibility recovers nothing.
In regard to comparative negligence in personal injury cases, this is a complex legal topic that can be best explained by a personal injury lawyer. To speak with a personal injury attorney about fault for your injuries, complete the free case evaluation form on the right.