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Comparative Negligence In Car Accident Claims

On Behalf of Bennerotte & Associates, P.A.

Jun 29, 2024


In car accident cases, determining fault is crucial for determining liability and compensation. Comparative negligence is a legal principle that can significantly impact the outcome of a car accident claim.

As Minnesota follows a comparative negligence rule for car accident suits, it’s important for plaintiffs like you to understand what comparative negligence entails, how it affects car accident claims, and its implications for both plaintiffs and defendants. Part of the job your Bloomington car accident lawyer does, therefore, is minimizing your role in the claim, thereby minimizing may reduction in compensation you may receive. At Bennerotte & Associates, P.A., we’re quite familiar with the state’s comparative negligence doctrine, and we’re offering insight into how it may affect your case.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine used in many states to allocate fault between parties involved in an accident. It recognizes that more than one party may be responsible for causing an accident and allows for proportional responsibility to be assigned accordingly.

Types Of Comparative Negligence

There are two main types of comparative negligence:

  • Pure Comparative Negligence: Under pure comparative negligence, each party’s fault is assessed, and their recovery of damages is reduced by their percentage of fault. Even if a plaintiff is found to be 99% at fault, they can still recover 1% of their damages from the other party.
  • Modified Comparative Negligence: Most states, including Minnesota, that follow modified comparative negligence have a threshold for plaintiffs to recover damages. If a plaintiff is found to be equally or more at fault than the defendant (usually 50% or 51% threshold), they cannot recover damages. However, if their fault is less than the threshold, their recovery is reduced by their percentage of fault.

Application In Car Accident Claims

In car accident cases, comparative negligence comes into play when determining the degree of responsibility each driver bears for the accident. Factors considered may include:

  • Speeding or Violating Traffic Laws: Did one driver exceed the speed limit or fail to yield?
  • Distracted Driving: Was a driver texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise distracted?
  • Failure to Maintain Control: Did a driver fail to maintain control of their vehicle, contributing to the accident?
  • Contributory Factors: Weather conditions, road hazards, and other external factors contributing to the accident.

Implications For Compensation

Understanding comparative negligence is crucial because it directly affects the amount of compensation a plaintiff can receive. If a plaintiff is found partially at fault, their damages are reduced proportionally. For instance, if a plaintiff’s damages are $100,000 and they are 20% at fault, they can recover $80,000 ($100,000 – 20%).

Defendants may argue that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to the accident to reduce their own liability.

Maximizing Compensation After A Car Accident With Bennerotte & Associates, P.A.

Comparative negligence is a critical legal concept in car accident claims, influencing liability determination and compensation awards. Whether you are pursuing a claim or defending against one, understanding how comparative negligence applies to your case is essential. Our legal team focuses on achieving maximum compensation for your claim, thoroughly investigating the accident and building a strong case on your behalf. Contact Bennerotte & Associates, P.A. today for a free consultation.