The Difference Between Contributory and Comparative Negligence in Massachusetts

Contributory vs. Comparative Negligence

In every accident claim, the outcome ultimately comes down to fault and negligence. In some cases, one party may be 100 percent at fault for an accident and the resulting injury or damage. In other cases, both parties may share fault for an accident. This is where the concepts of contributory and comparative negligence enter the legal sphere.

Many legal concepts vary by state and jurisdiction, making them difficult to understand to someone not trained in the law. If you or a family member is considering legal action against another party, it is a good idea to consult an experienced attorney. Kiley Law Group, LLC has successfully represented Massachusetts residents for over 30 years.

To get the representation you deserve, call our offices at (888) 208-1695.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is a term used to describe a party's behavior that puts another person at unreasonable risk. Synonyms for negligence would be carelessness or recklessness. For instance, people texting while driving.

What is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory negligence is a legal term used to describe a party's behavior that puts their own self at unreasonable risk. The above mentioned driver is guilty of contributory negligence by texting while driving. Also guilty of contributory negligence is the pedestrian crossing the street while the traffic signal is flashing "Don't Walk." Now suppose the driver hits this pedestrian with her car and injures him. This is where the concept of comparative negligence comes in.

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is a concept that comes into play when both parties involved share fault for an accident. For instance, the driver texting while driving puts both herself and others at risk. The pedestrian also put himself at risk by crossing the street when he wasn't supposed to. If the pedestrian decides to sue the driver for his injuries, the court would have to compare the amount of fault the pedestrian had for being hit by the car. This is comparative negligence.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Like most states, Massachusetts practices the concept of modified comparative negligence. This means that a party deemed 51 percent or more at fault for an accident cannot sue for any damages against the other party involved. Suppose the texting driver decides to sue the pedestrian for the damage done to her car. If a judge or jury determines that the driver was 75 percent at fault for the accident and the pedestrian 25 percent at fault, the driver could not sue for any damages. The pedestrian, on the other hand, could only sue the driver for 75 percent the total damages for his injury. If the pedestrian's medical bills resulting from being hit by the texting driver's car totaled $10,000, he would only be able to collect $7,500 from the driver or her insurance company.

Contact Kiley Law Group, LLC in Massachusetts

If you or a loved one has been injured or lost property in an accident, it is vital that you consult a Massachusetts accident attorney. The esteemed legal team at the Massachusetts offices of Kiley Law Group, LLC can guide you through your case and get you the best settlement possible.

Call us today for a free case assessment at (888) 208-1695.

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