Comparative Negligence

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Definition: Comparative Negligence

Comparative Negligence is a rule under civil law for allocating responsibility and damages when both the plaintiff and the defendant are at least somewhat at fault. In a situation where both were negligent, the jury allocates fault, usually on a percentage basis to both of them on the basis of their contributions to the accident. This helps insurance companies to assign blame and pay claims accordingly. This is majorly used to proportionately allocate the charges or damages each of the involved party has to bear for the incident.

There are two approaches to this which are:

1. Pure comparative negligence:

In this case, the damages are allocated as per the plaintiff’s contribution to the incident or damages.

For example, if a case was filed by driver X against another driver Y for an accident that occurred between them, the judge who reviewed their case found that driver X was 40% at fault and driver Y was 60% at fault so each pays their share of the other's damages i.e. the driver X pays 40% of driver Y’s damages, and driver Y pays 60% of driver X’s damages.


2. Modified comparative negligence:

In this case, the plaintiff will not get any reimbursement for the damages or injury if he/she is found to be equally responsible or more responsible than the defendant for the damage.

In US 12 states follow 50 percent bar rule, means the plaintiff cannot recover for damages if he is 50 percent or more responsible for the damage in the accident.

21 states follow the 51 percent bar rule which means the plaintiff cannot recover for the damage if he is 51 percent or more responsible for the damage in the accident.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Comparative Negligence along with its overview.

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