What Is Comparative Negligence and How Can It Affect Your Case?

April 21, 2023

From “appellant” to “dicta” and more, there’s a reason people compare legal terms to jargon.

If you’ve experienced a recent accident or suffered a personal injury, you may have heard the term “comparative negligence.” You might be wondering what comparative negligence means and how it can affect your case.

Understanding comparative negligence is crucial to protecting your legal rights and getting fair compensation for your injuries. Keep reading to learn all about it.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

It’s a legal concept used in personal injury cases to determine fault and allocate damages. Under comparative negligence laws, the fault for an accident or injury is not always clear-cut. Instead, the court or jury may find that multiple parties share responsibility for the accident.

In cases of comparative negligence, the court or jury will decide on the percentage of fault for each party involved in the accident or injury. Each party will get a percentage of fault based on their actions leading up to the accident.

For example, if you were involved in a car accident and got 20% fault because of speeding, the other driver may receive 80% fault because they ran a red light.

How Does Comparative Negligence Work in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts keeps to a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that you may still be able to recover damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident or injury. However, there are some important caveats to keep in mind.

Under Massachusetts law, if you’re found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident or injury, you won’t recover damages from the other party. This is true even if the other party is at fault to some degree.

If you’re found to be less than 50% at fault, you can still recover damages. However, your total compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you’re 20% at fault for the accident and get $100,000 in damages, your total compensation would be reduced to $80,000.

The Importance of Legal Help

As you can see, the concept of comparative negligence in Massachusetts can have a big influence on the outcome of your personal injury case. Even if you’re only partially at fault for the accident or injury, your total compensation can end up being reduced by quite a bit.

This is why it is so important to find a lawyer you can trust. They’ll help you navigate the complexities of comparative negligence laws and protect your rights. They can also do the heavy lifting by gathering evidence and supporting your claim with counter-arguments.

Ready to Navigate Comparative Negligence?

Now that you’ve learned about comparative negligence, you shouldn’t let it take control of your case. Instead, you should have the best lawyer on your side.

We can use our years of experience to represent your case. This will increase your chances of getting the settlement you deserve. Aside from car accidents and injuries, we cover a wide range of other legal services.

You can start the process by reaching out for a free consultation.

How can we help?

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Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.