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Comparative Negligence

Many people believe that when you are involved in an accident, there is one clear person at fault. This, however, is not the case. Some states rely on a calculation to assign a percentage of blame to each party involved. This is called comparative negligence. How does comparative negligence affect a personal injury case? Read this article to learn more.

comparative negligence explained

How Comparative Negligence Works

In injury claims, it’s possible the insurance company will try to shift blame. It’s possible you might be partially responsible for your injury. But how much of your injury is your fault? What is comparative negligence?

Here is everything you need to know about comparative negligence and what it means for your injury claim:

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is ” a rule of law applied in tort cases to determine responsibility and damages based on the negligence of every party directly involved in the accident.” 

In other words, it defines how much each person involved in the incident is at fault. This is determined based on the facts of the accident.

Examples Of Comparative Negligence

Here are several basic real-world examples of comparative negligence:

Two cars are driving down the street. One driver is speeding, the other driver is intoxicated. Both cars partially cross over the yellow lines and collide.

At a workplace, an employee is operating heavy machinery. The operator chooses to not wear a seatbelt. While operating the machinery, it tips over and the operator sustains injuries when they fall out of the machine.

A pedestrian illegally crosses the road without a crosswalk. The pedestrian is hit by a driver pulling out of a parking space. The driver was looking backward to check they could pull out into traffic.

In each of these situations, it could be possible both parties contributed to the accident. Each person bears partial responsibility for the injuries due to their contribution to the incident. The court might ‘compare’ each person’s responsibility toward the accident occurring.

who is at fault for an injury

How Does it Affect Your Claim?

Insurance companies love comparative negligence. It helps them reduce the money they pay to injured people. We’ve seen valid claims where insurance companies try to flip the blame onto the injured victim. Sadly, a lot of injured people lose hope and a lot of money because they believe an insurance adjuster.

But, comparative negligence can also be used by the defense in court. In court, comparative negligence outcomes will reduce the amount of compensation the injured party receives. If the plaintiff is found partially responsible for contributing to their injury, this percentage is removed from their compensation.

The rules are different in different states. Pennsylvania follows a 51% rule. This means, if the plaintiff is 51% responsible for the injury, they will not receive any compensation for their claim. 

What About Insurance Companies?

Insurance companies are notorious for low-balling claims. Their main goal is to pay as little as possible for your claim. If an adjuster can get you to admit even partial fault, they can use this to seriously reduce your claim.

personal injury attorney

It’s easy to feel powerless when talking to your insurance or the at-fault person’s insurance. Insurance adjusters use a variety of tactics to get you to admit you were at fault. They might befriend you or intimidate you.

Both insurance carriers and defense lawyers will argue that you alone were the main reason for the accident. They will shift the blame against you to prove they are not as liable for the damages and should not pay you compensation. Talk to a personal injury attorney for help with your claim.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

For the best results in your injury claim, talk to a personal injury attorney for advice. If you try to negotiate your claim on your own, you risk losing. A personal injury attorney will protect your interests to ensure the best possible result.

Local Personal Injury Attorney

If you are injured, talk to a local personal injury attorney in a free consultation. Kane & Silverman is a local injury law firm in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Contact us for a free consultation with an injury attorney.