Shared Fault Laws You Need to Know

Individuals who suffer devastating injuries in an accident may be hesitant to file a lawsuit against the person who is to blame for causing their accident for a number of reasons, but by far, the most common is the feeling of being partially at fault. Those who have reason to believe they may have partially contributed to their injuries are often under the impression that this shared fault renders them ineligible for compensation. While this is true in some cases, the laws regarding shared fault vary on a state by state basis. Continue reading to learn more about the three different types of shared fault laws, and how they impact the settlements of injury victims across the country.

Pure Contributory Fault

In states that practice pure contributory fault, such as North Carolina and Alabama, individuals who are partially responsible for their injuries will not be entitled to compensation from the party who is primarily to blame. One Alabama car accident lawyer says, “Unfortunately, injury victims are not afforded the same opportunities living in states that follow pure contributory fault laws.”

Pure Comparative Fault

Conversely, pure comparative fault laws allow injury victims who hold partial culpability to obtain compensation from those primarily at fault. California and Florida are among those states that follow pure comparative negligence laws.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Modified comparative negligence states, like Massachusetts, allow injury victims to seek financial compensation for their losses, but only to a certain point. According to a personal injury lawyer in Denver, “Modified comparative fault has a threshold for liability, usually somewhere between 49 percent and 51 percent depending on your state. If your portion of fault goes beyond this bar, you would typically no longer be able to obtain compensation.” It is important to note that in states that practice either pure comparative fault or modified comparative fault laws, the injury victim will still need to be held accountable for their own negligence. This is done by reducing the injury settlement by the injury victim’s portion of fault. For example, someone who is 30 percent at fault can expect to have their award reduced by 30 percent. These negligence laws are sure to have an impact on your civil claim if you contributed to the accident you were involved in, which is why it is important to do your research on the claims process before you move forward with a lawsuit.