Everything You Need to Know About Comparative Negligence

When it comes to personal injury cases, the issue of comparative negligence can be a crucial factor in determining the outcome of the case. Comparative negligence refers to the concept that a plaintiff’s damages may be reduced if they are found to be partially responsible for the accident that caused their injuries. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about comparative negligence.

What is Comparative Negligence?

The legal concept of comparative negligence enables the reduction of a plaintiff’s damages in the event they are deemed partially responsible for the accident that resulted in their injuries. The principle is employed to evaluate the degree of fault for each party in the accident and assign damages accordingly.

Comparative negligence can be categorized into two types: pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence. Under pure comparative negligence, the plaintiff’s damages are reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them, irrespective of the extent of their responsibility. On the other hand, in modified comparative negligence, the plaintiff’s damages are reduced only if their percentage of fault is below a certain threshold, which is usually 50%.

How is Comparative Negligence Determined?

Determining comparative negligence can be a complex process that involves gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing the facts of the case. The court will consider a variety of factors, including:

  • The actions of each party leading up to the accident
  • The degree to which each party’s actions contributed to the accident
  • Whether any laws or regulations were violated leading up to the accident

Once all of the evidence has been gathered and analyzed, the court will assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in the accident. The plaintiff’s damages will then be reduced by their percentage of fault.

How Can Comparative Negligence Affect a Personal Injury Case?

In the event that a plaintiff is deemed partially responsible for the accident that led to their injuries, a reduction in their damages may be implemented accordingly. For instance, if a plaintiff is found to be 20% liable for the accident, their damages will be reduced by 20%.

In some cases, the plaintiff may be found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident. In these cases, the plaintiff may not be entitled to any damages at all.

It is important to note that comparative negligence can be a powerful defense tool for defendants in personal injury cases. Defendants may argue that the plaintiff was partially at fault for the accident and should therefore not be entitled to full damages.

How Can You Protect Yourself in a Comparative Negligence Case?

In case you are a party to a personal injury lawsuit where comparative negligence is potentially a factor, there are several measures you can undertake to safeguard your interests:

  • Gather as much evidence as possible: This includes photographs, witness statements, and medical records.
  • Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney: An attorney can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.
  • Be careful what you say: Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident, as this can be used against you in court.
  • Be honest: Be truthful about what happened leading up to the accident and do not try to conceal any relevant information.


Having a knowledgeable Pittsburgh car accident lawyer can be crucial when dealing with the legal doctrine of comparative negligence, as it holds great significance and can significantly influence the verdict of a personal injury lawsuit. If you find yourself involved in such a case where comparative negligence is a potential factor, it is crucial to seek the guidance of a proficient attorney who can assist you in maneuvering through the legal process and safeguarding your entitlements. By hiring experienced personal injury attorneys who can assist you in accumulating relevant evidence, maintaining honesty, and abstaining from making any self-incriminating remarks, you can promote the likelihood of an equitable resolution to your case.

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