en English
ar Arabiczh-CN Chinese (Simplified)nl Dutchen Englishfr Frenchde Germanit Italianpt Portugueseru Russianes Spanish

The Difference Between Comparative and Contributory Negligence

Although it’s an easy knee jerk reaction to say, “This is all your fault!” when you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another, it is not always quite that cut-and-dried. Sometimes the injured party may share some of the blame in the eyes of the law. For example, perhaps you were in a car accident caused by another driver cutting you off. But maybe you were speeding, and your speed contributed to the severity of your injuries. You may be considered negligent as well as the other driver, and legally share some of the fault. 

When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, different states have different doctrines for handling shared fault. States vary in their rules regarding whether or not a plaintiff can seek damages for negligence against another party when they (the plaintiff) were also considered at all negligent. States that allow a negligent plaintiff to seek damages also vary in the extent to which the plaintiff’s own negligence is considered in the potential award.

Contributory Negligence

Under contributory negligence, the plaintiff is fully barred from recovering any damages from the defendant if they (the plaintiff) were negligent and shared even just 1% of the fault.

The contributory negligence doctrine used to be the norm across the board, but many consider it to be too harsh and it has been replaced by comparative negligence in all but four states.

Comparative Negligence

If a state follows comparative negligence, it means that even if a plaintiff was negligent and partially at fault, they may still be awarded damages, with consideration given to the extent of the plaintiff’s negligence as compared to the defendant’s negligence. 

There are several types of comparative negligence:

  • Pure comparative negligence: The plaintiff can recover a percentage of the total damages. If the plaintiff was 10% at fault, they will be responsible for 10% of the damages, but can recover the other 90%. Florida follows pure comparative negligence.
  • Modified comparative negligence: The plaintiff can only recover damages if he or she is responsible for less than 50% or 51% (depending on the state) of the fault.
  • Slight vs. gross negligence: Under this system, the plaintiff and defendant’s degrees of fault are determined to be either “slight” or “gross.” If the plaintiff was slightly negligent, they can recover damages. If they were grossly negligent, they are barred from recovery.

Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’re dealing with an injury that was caused by the negligence of another, it is important to have an experienced lawyer by your side to guide you through the process of seeking damages. At Goss Law, we have over thirty years of experience securing maximum recovery for our clients. We give every case we take on the personalized attention it deserves. 

Over the years, we’ve discovered the winning formula for personal injury cases: Small Firm Attention + Large Firm Experience = Maximum Financial Recovery. If you’ve been seriously injured, give us a call at (305) 598-1344 to discuss your options.

The following two tabs change content below.


Latest posts by bicouser (see all)

%d bloggers like this: