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3.5-4  Rules of Comparative Negligence

Revised to January 1, 2008

As I have explained, the plaintiff has claimed that the (collision / incident) was caused by the defendant’s negligence, and the defendant has claimed that it was caused by the plaintiff’s own negligence.  If you find that negligence on the part of BOTH parties was a substantial factor in causing the (collision / incident), then the law is that the plaintiff can recover damages from the defendant only to the extent of the defendant’s fault and may not recover damages to the extent that (he/she) (himself/herself) was at fault.

If the plaintiff was more at fault than the defendant, then the plaintiff cannot recover any damages.

Here is an example to make this rule clear:  If the plaintiff was 20% at fault and the defendant was 80% at fault, the plaintiff recovers 80% of (his/her) damages.  If the plaintiff was 50% at fault and the defendant was 50% at fault, the plaintiff recovers 50% of (his/her) damages.  However, if the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault, (he/she) was more at fault than the party (he/she) has sued, and (he/she) recovers no damages.

Just as an example, suppose the plaintiff’s total damages were $100.  If the plaintiff was 30% at fault and the defendant was 70% at fault, the plaintiff would recover 70% of the $100, or $70.  The plaintiff would thus not receive payment for the part of (his/her) damages caused by (his/her) own negligence.  Obviously, the numbers used are just for the sake of an example.  I could have used $10,000 or $10 million.


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