Massachusetts Personal Injury Library
The Difference Between Contributory and Comparative Negligence
Being involved in a car accident in Massachusetts can have a serious impact on your life. After the crash, you are left with many questions concerning your health, personal injuries and the damages done to your vehicle. Knowing the difference between contributory and comparative negligence can answer some of these important questions.
If you are in a car accident where you hit a car that may have been engaging in an unlawful act, the liability may be unclear at first glance. In the case where both parties have been negligent, contributory and comparative negligence will determine the amount of liability.
Some states adhere to contributory negligence while others follow comparative negligence as a standard. In Massachusetts, accident liability is determined using a modified comparative negligence model.
Let’s start with comparative negligence. In Massachusetts, comparative negligence is used to determine liability where both parties may be considered negligent. If you bring a personal injury claim against someone else, then you are the plaintiff and the other party is the defendant. In Massachusetts modified comparative negligence, the liability for the accident depends on which party was more than 51% responsible for the crash and resulting damage.
This means, for instance, that if the other party’s actions were the majority cause of the accident, they are liable for damages, even if your actions also contributed in a minor way to the crash.
Four states and Washington, D.C., use contributory negligence to determine liability. The main difference is that contributory negligence allows one party to avoid liability, or pay a much small amount of compensation if the other party contributed at all to the accident. States that follow contributory negligence make it extremely difficult for an injured party to receive the compensation they need after being injured in a crash.
Call a Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney
When in doubt about the type of negligence in your car accident case, call the Boston personal injury law firm, Kiley Law Group.
FREE CONSULTATION. Call our toll-free number to schedule a free initial evaluation of your case: 1-(888) 208-1695.
The call is free; the advice may be priceless.