Comparative vs. Contributory Negligence

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For those unfamiliar with the legal system, a car accident can seem like a daunting process. From dealing with insurance companies to understanding how you will be compensated for your injuries and damages, there is a lot of information to take in. One of the most important concepts to understand when dealing with car accidents is comparative negligence. In Connecticut, this takes the form of modified comparative fault. This blog post will explain what that means and how it works in different scenarios.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence refers to the legal system's way of assigning blame for an accident between two or more parties. This type of negligence assigns each party a certain percentage of fault based on their actions leading up to the accident. There are two main types of comparative negligence:

  • Pure Comparative Negligence - Parties can collect compensation for an accident even if they are 99 percent at fault. They can collect that 1 percent.
  • Modified Comparative Negligence - Parties can recover compensation for an accident as long as they are less than 50 percent (sometimes less than 51 percent) at fault.

In Connecticut, the modified comparative negligence "51-rule" is used, which means that if you are found 50 percent or less at fault for an accident, then you may recover compensation from other parties involved in the incident that was deemed more responsible than you were (i.e., 51 percent or over). However, if your degree of fault is found to be 51 percent or over, then you are barred from recovering any monetary compensation from other parties involved in the incident, regardless of their level of responsibility or culpability in causing it.

What is Contributory Negligence?

Another principle other states use when dealing with car accidents is contributory negligence. This type of negligence law assigns only one party blame and prohibits the awarding of any compensation if they are found even 1 percent responsible for the accident. Unlike modified comparative negligence, which allows parties to collect compensation as long as their degree of fault is below 50 or 51 percent, contributory negligence bars any compensation if the plaintiff is found even 1 percent at fault.

Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in Hartford, CT

When it comes down to collecting compensation after being injured in an automobile accident caused by someone else's negligence or reckless behavior, understanding Connecticut's modified comparative fault law is essential when determining who should pay what amount depending on whose actions led up to such an event taking place. The experienced attorneys at David A. Zipfel & Associates, LLC will work hard on your behalf so that you get maximum deserved compensation no matter what percentage you are assigned.

Contact us today at (860) 528-4567 or fill out or form online for a free initial consultation.

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