Passionate, Proven Rhode Island Representation

Understanding comparative negligence

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2019 | Personal Injury

After an accident, your head is likely spinning. You may wander around the scene in a daze for a bit, depending on the severity of the crash.

Perhaps you find yourself waking up a day or two later sore and anxious; you may want to see a doctor. Injuries sustained in a car accident can sneak up on you, and the doctor finds that you have a concussion and back injuries. You assume that the other driver is solely at-fault; however, this is not always the case. In Rhode Island, insurance companies and courts use comparative negligence to decide how much each driver must ante up. Consider these facts about comparative negligence.

Comparative negligence definition

When it comes to finding fault in a car accident, comparative negligence means even if you were on the receiving end of a crash, your actions might have contributed to it. For example, if a vehicle rear-ended you, it seems pretty cut and dried: That driver is responsible. However, if that driver rear-ended you because you pulled out without looking or changed lanes abruptly without signaling, you contributed to the accident. Therefore, a court may not entirely rule in your favor.

Implications of comparative fault

After looking at all the facts of the case, an insurance adjuster will divide negligence by each driver’s role in an accident. If distracted driving, intoxication or some other contributing factor was involved, no matter who the driver, those elements come into play. The adjuster may divide the fault equally, but in Rhode Island, there is typically some measure of comparative negligence placed on even the plaintiff. In some cases, this may amount to 1 percent which means a plaintiff may only recover 99 percent of his or her damages from the defendant.

When considering your role in an accident, remember that even if you suffered a majority of the damage, an adjuster and ultimately the court may find you partially at fault. Many people choose to speak to an attorney for more guidance regarding comparative negligence.