The terms comparative fault and contributory negligence are legal doctrines often referred to during auto accident lawsuits to address who is at fault. More precisely, these terms determine the percentage of each party at fault to determine how and if damages will be awarded.
If you are injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to recover damages from the responsible party. Under Massachusetts law, anyone operating a motor vehicle has a duty to standard care. All drivers are expected to obey traffic laws and exercise caution based on driving conditions.
When it comes to auto accidents, it’s not uncommon for more than one party to act with negligence; therefore, there can be more than one defendant in a crash case.
As a plaintiff in an auto accident lawsuit, you can recover damages, even if you are found to be at fault, as long as your share of the blame is not 51 percent or higher. In other words, the plaintiff’s level of fault cannot be more than the defendant’s.
Injured parties are prevented from collecting any damages after a car accident if they were careless and found to be over 51 percent to blame for the wreck under contributory negligence. When blame is shared, damages are awarded based on each individual’s share of the fault under comparative fault.
It’s important to note that damages may be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s negligence. For example, if you are found 20 percent liable, your awarded damages will be reduced by 20 percent.
Due to the complexities of comparative fault and contributory negligence, you should always contact an injury attorney to discuss the details of your case. Contact us today so we can help you begin your claim.