Personal Injury Lawsuits: Determining Fault and Comparative Negligence

Some degree of carelessness is the root cause of many personal injury accidents, and determining the extent of a party’s carelessness is the crux of any lawsuit. While there is no scientific method for determining carelessness – and by extension, fault – there are indicators that help guide liability.

Should the injured person have expected some degree of injury potential or danger in the given situation? If so, did they exercise proper precautions?

If the injured person is determined to have acted carelessly, how much did that contribute to the accident?

Comparative negligence is a rule used to determine percentage of fault and in turn, amount of compensation. If an injured person is found to be 10% at fault for their injuries because of careless behavior, then their compensation is reduced by that same 10%.

For example, Driver A is involved in a head-on collision with Driver B. Driver A may be entitled to compensation because Driver B crossed a double line and caused the accident. However, if it is determined the Driver A was driving at an unsafe speed at the time of the accident, the court may say Driver A is 10% responsible for the accident, reducing monetary compensation by 10%.