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What Is Comparative Negligence?

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Comparative negligence is a relatively new doctrine of law that dates its origins only around forty years ago. It allows a claimant to recover some of their losses even when they are partially at fault. Each party’s fault is compared against the other ones involved and settlements may be reduced by the degree of their own negligence.

Two variations of the system are used – pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence.

  • The pure comparative negligence (or 100 percent) system entitles the claimant to cash in a settlement that is discounted by his share of fault in the accident. If you are ruled to have been 25% at fault in an accident and are going to file a $10,000 claim you are only going to cash in $7,500.
  • The modified comparative negligence (or 50 percent, sometimes 49 percent) system forbids drivers to file a claim if their share of the fault is more than 50% (or 49% in other states). In other words, if the accident was mostly your fault, you cannot be compensated for the damages.
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