Comparative negligence can negatively affect the amount of damages awarded in a personal injury claim. If the plaintiff is deemed partially responsible, the amount discounted from their claim is measured based on the court’s determination of fault.
In states that abide by Comparative Negligence statutes, a victim or plaintiff may be partly responsible for an accident. In relation to car crashes, this could refer to a victim’s lack of following road rules, level of intoxication, or even the condition of their automobile.
For example, a plaintiff would have a difficult time earning damages if they were heavily intoxicated and ran into the street without warning. Courts will determine comparative negligence based on reasonable considerations. There are 3 comparative negligence categories:
- Pure Comparative Negligence. When a plaintiff or “victim” is deemed responsible for most or 90% of the accident, they are only able to recover 10% of their damages.
- Modified Comparative Negligence 1. States like Colorado and Maine will NOT grant any rewards if the plaintiff is deemed exactly 50% liable for the accident.
- Modified Comparative Negligence 2. In Hawaii, Iowa, and other states a plaintiff may NOT be granted any awards if they are found to be at least 51% responsible.
California is a Pure Comparative Negligence State and usually allows the plaintiff to at least recover a partial claim.