What is Comparative Negligence? And How can it Impact your Personal Injury Case?
- Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that plays a crucial role in personal injury cases in Oklahoma and many other jurisdictions across the United States. It’s a concept designed to address cases where both the injured party (plaintiff) and the defendant share some degree of fault for the accident or injury. It is critical in understanding comparative negligence because it directly impacts the final compensation a plaintiff may receive in a personal injury lawsuit. Here at Burch George and Germany, we will fight for your ability to receive financial compensation after your injury even if you are partially at fault for the accident.
- Furthermore, in Oklahoma, the principle of comparative negligence is applied using a modified comparative fault system, specifically the “50% rule.” Under this rule, a plaintiff can recover damages for their injuries as long as their share of fault does not exceed 50%. If the plaintiff is found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident, they are barred from recovering any damages. However, if the plaintiff’s fault is determined to be less than 50%, their compensation will be reduced proportionally to their degree of fault.
- Another important aspect to comparative negligence is that it emphasizes the importance of thorough investigation and presentation of evidence in personal injury cases. Both sides will work to establish the other party’s degree of fault, and this can significantly impact the outcome of the case. The plaintiffs must be prepared to demonstrate the defendant’s negligence and minimize their own share of fault to maximize their potential compensation.
Example of Comparative Negligence
- For further understanding, let’s look at an example: suppose a car accident case goes to trial, and the jury determines that the plaintiff is 30% at fault for the accident, while the defendant is 70% at fault. If the total damages awarded by the jury amount to $100,000, the plaintiff would receive $70,000 (reflecting the defendant’s 70% fault) minus their own 30% share of fault, resulting in a final award of $49,000.
- Overall, comparative negligence is a critical concept in personal injury cases. Understanding how it works and its potential impact is essential for both plaintiffs and defendants. It emphasizes the importance of legal representation and skilled advocacy to present a compelling case that accurately apportions fault and secures the best possible outcome for the injured party.