What Is Comparative Negligence, and What Does It Mean for My Missouri Personal Injury Case?

People use the term “accidents” to describe situations where someone sustains an unintentional injury, but few accidents are truly random or blameless. In most cases, someone caused an accident through their careless or reckless actions, and they should bear the blame for the injured party’s losses. But what happens when someone contributes to their own injuries in an accident?

When someone injured in a Missouri accident bears some of the fault for what happened, the concept of comparative negligence comes into play. Anyone with a Missouri personal injury case must understand this concept, and that’s the topic of this blog. The Clayton, Missouri, injury attorneys at Holland Injury Law have a deep understanding of comparative negligence and can explain how it may apply to your case. 

Basics of Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence comes into play when more than one person bears responsibility for an accident. Because the negligent party in an accident is legally and financially liable for the injured party’s losses, it makes sense that each party should pay for their share of any losses.

We can use a practical example to illustrate how comparative negligence works. For instance, car accidents in Missouri often involve comparative negligence because drivers sometimes contribute to their own injuries in a crash, even if they didn’t mean to. Suppose a distracted driver collides with another car, but the second driver is speeding. In this scenario, the distracted driver might bear most of the responsibility for the crash, but the speeding driver also contributed to their injuries.

Because both drivers played a role in the crash, they each bear some liability for any injuries the collision caused. In this situation, the drivers’ insurance companies or the courts would have to determine each driver’s level of liability to see which driver owes the other compensation and how much they should pay.

Comparative Negligence in Missouri Personal Injury Claims

Missouri uses a type of comparative negligence called pure comparative negligence. This means that as long as someone is not wholly responsible for their injuries in an accident, they can demand compensation from the other party, even if the injured party bears most of the fault for what happened. However, if someone contributed to their own injuries in an accident, their compensation is reduced by their degree of fault. For example, if a driver’s losses from an accident add up to $50,000 but they bear 10 percent of the responsibility for the crash, they would only be entitled to money for 90 percent of their compensable losses, or $45,000.

How an Experienced Missouri Personal Injury Attorney Can Maximize Your Compensation

Comparative negligence allows for flexibility in complicated personal injury claims, but you could lose a significant portion of your compensation if you are found partly liable for an accident. Our Missouri personal injury lawyers can gather evidence to minimize your degree of fault and help you recover fair compensation. We can also handle negotiations with the insurance companies and counter their tactics to blame you for what happened. If necessary, we can take your case to court and tell your story to a judge or jury.

You deserve fair compensation after an accident, and Holland Injury Law is here to protect your rights and shoulder your legal burdens. Call us today at (314) 888-7888 or complete our contact form for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

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