The terms comparative fault and contributory negligence are legal doctrines often referred to during auto accident lawsuits to address whether the plaintiff will recover damages in full. More precisely, these terms determine the percentage of each party at fault to determine if damages are recoverable and to what extent.
If you are injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to recover damages from the responsible party. Under Massachusetts law, anyone operating a motor vehicle must use reasonable care. All drivers are expected to obey traffic laws and exercise caution based on driving conditions.
When it comes to auto accidents, it’s common for more than one party to act negligently; therefore, there can be more than one defendant in a crash case.
As a plaintiff in an auto accident lawsuit, you can recover damages, even if you are also found to be at fault and your share of the blame is not more than 50 percent. In other words, the plaintiff’s level of fault cannot be more than the total of the defendants.
Injured parties cannot collect any damages after a car accident if they were more than 50 percent to blame for the wreck under contributory negligence law. When blame is shared, the award of damages follows everyone’s share of the fault.
The proportion of the plaintiff’s negligence will reduce their damages accordingly. For example, if you are found 20 percent negligent, your total damages will be reduced by 20 percent.
Due to the complexities of comparative fault and contributory negligence, you should always contact an injury attorney to discuss the details of your case. Contact us today so we can help you begin your claim.