What is the difference between contributory negligence and comparative negligence?

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When an individual gets injured due to another person’s negligence, they are legally entitled to file a claim against that negligent party to seek monetary compensation for their damages. However, if an injured individual was partially at-fault for the incident that caused their damages, it could affect whether they can recover compensation for their losses. Ultimately, this depends on whether the state the individual resides in follows the contributory negligence or comparative negligence doctrine. If you have been injured by another person’s negligence and are partially at fault, contact a skilled Prince George’s County Personal Injury Attorney who can help you understand your legal options. In addition, please continue reading to learn about the contributory and comparative negligence doctrines in personal injury cases.

What is the difference between the contributory and comparative negligence doctrines?

In the U.S. states either follow the contributory negligence or comparative negligence doctrine. Ultiamtely, depending on which doctrine the state follows it can affect an individual’s ability to recover monetary compensation in a personal injury case if they are partially at fault for the incident that caused their injuries and damages.

Contributory negligence

Essentially, states that follow the contributory negligence doctrine do not allow victims who have been injured by another party’s negligence to recover monetary compensation if the victim contributed or was partially to blame for the incident that caused their damages. Ultimately, contributory negligence bars victims from recovering damages even if they are found just 1% at fault for the cause of the incident. Maryland is one of the few states that continues to use the contributory negligence doctrine rather than comparative negligence.

Comparative negligence 

Essentially, states that follow the comparative negligence doctrine allow victims that were injured as a result of another party’s negligence to recover damages even if they contributed in any capacity or were partially at fault for the incident that caused their damages. However, if they are found to be partially at fault the amount they can recover is reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if a victim is 40% responsible for the incident that caused their damages, their award would be reduced by 40%.¬†Most states in the U.S. follow the comparative negligence doctrine as it still allows victims to recover monetary compensation for their losses.

Ultimately, the main difference between contributory negligence and comparative negligence is that with contributory negligence victims cannot recover monetary compensation if they contributed in any capacity to the cause of their damages, while with comparative negligence victims can still recover a reduced portion of their reward based on their percentage of fault.

In the unfortunate event that you are injured due to someone else’s negligence and are partially at fault for the cause of the incident that caused your injuries, it is imperative to retain our legal services as our skilled attorneys can help you understand how Maryland’s contributory negligence doctrine will affect your case. Allow our firm to help you today.

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