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What is the Difference Between Comparative and Contributory Negligence?

Many lawsuits involving personal injury are sought on the grounds ofnegligence-that the party at fault could have prevented the accident by acting in a reasonable manner. In many cases, the fault is often shared between the person who was injured and the person on the receiving end of the lawsuit. The blame does not have to be split evenly, and there are few methods and considerations when determining fault.

An individual's level of fault in contributing to personal injuries is considered contributory negligence and may lessen the amount of compensation available in a lawsuit because there was something the individual could have done to not cause the incident. While you are likely to still receive some compensation if the other party was not acting responsibly, it is important to understand the significance of contributory negligence and more modern comparative negligence.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is traditional and used to mean that a person who was found even slightly negligent in causing his own injuries was barred from receiving any compensation for injuries. This means that even in car accidents, if there was a 10% level of fault attributed to the injured driver they would not be able to claim that the other driver should pay for the injuries. This is known today as "pure" contributory negligence and is rarely applicable. This is why most courts in states do not assume that fault is an all-or-nothing compensation and have decided not to punish the injured even if they were slightly at fault.

Comparative Negligence

You probably are already familiar with comparative negligence and just don't know it. Under the rules of comparative negligence a person can recover in proportion to the part of the accident they are responsible for. For example, if a person was 80% at fault for apersonal injury could still recover 20% from another negligent defendant. There are also certain cases that use a modified form of comparative negligence to state that only those who are at less fault than others in causing their own injuries can take the other party to trial. This is modified comparative negligence and means that the injured party can only seek recovery if they were responsible for less than 50% of their injuries.

If you have other questions regarding injury negligence and how to claim compensation from the party you believe to be at fault make sure to call the Kyle Law Firm today so we can discuss the best options for seeking recovery and proving you have the minimal responsibility.

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