Difference Between Contributory and Comparative Negligence

When it comes to recovering compensation for injuries suffered in a car accident, each state has its own laws. Some states will not allow you to recover any money whatsoever if you are even one percent at fault. Some states allow you to recover compensation as long as you are no more than 50 percent at fault. Others will allow you the opportunity for financial recovery even if you are 99 percent at fault.

It is important to understand these laws so you know what you are entitled to receive should you become involved in an accident. You also don’t want to lose out on an opportunity to receive money. There are three types of negligence used in the United States.


Pure Comparative Negligence

New York is considered to be a pure comparative negligence state, which means that a person will not be barred from recovery as long as they are not 100 percent at fault. However, their recovery will be diminished based on their percentage of fault. For example, a person 50 percent at fault for a crash valued at $20,000 will only receive $10,000.

Besides New York, there are 11 other states that use pure comparative negligence, including California, Florida, Rhode Island, Washington, and Alaska.


Pure Contributory Negligence

Pure contributory negligence is the strictest form of negligence. In pure contributory negligence, a person cannot recover any compensation if they are found to be in any way at fault for the accident. Even if they suffered injuries and are only one percent at fault, they will not be able to receive any amount of money. The District of Columbia and four other states use this form of negligence: Alabama, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia.


Modified Comparative Fault

Modified comparative fault is a combination of the two forms of negligence listed above. It allows a person to receive compensation for injuries caused by their own negligence, but only to a certain degree. It does not allow for recovery for up to 99 percent fault like pure comparative negligence. Instead, the bar is set at 50 percent or 51 percent, depending on the state.

This means that if a person is less than 50 (or 51) percent at fault, they can still recover compensation. There are 12 states that use the 50 percent modified comparative fault rule, including Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. There are 21 states that use the 51 percent rule, including Massachusetts, Hawaii, Texas, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.


Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney Today

In New York, you can still receive compensation for damages suffered in an accident, even if you were somewhat liable. Don’t overlook your opportunity to recover money.  If you were injured in an accident and were partly at fault, contact New York car accident attorney Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. P.C.

He can advise you of your legal rights and help you fight your case so you can receive the highest amount of compensation possible. Call his office today or contact him online to learn more.