How Does Comparative Negligence Work in Massachusetts?
Have you ever been involved in an accident that was only partially your fault? What did the insurance company say? It was probably something like, “sorry, you were responsible for the accident, so you’re not entitled to compensation.” In Massachusetts, this shouldn’t be the case thanks to something known as “comparative negligence.”
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is a fancy term that basically breaks down the fault for an accident into percentages that are then assigned to each involved party according to his or her actions. For example, let’s say that you and another motorist are involved in an accident. Once your case goes to trial, a jury will then assign fault percentages to you and the other parties involved (e.g., 40 percent your fault and 60 percent theirs).
Compensation Is Affected by Comparative Negligence
Now that you understand what comparative negligence is, let’s talk about how comparative negligence can affect your financial award. Obviously, the amount of compensation you are awarded will vary based on your specific case and damages; however, let’s use an estimate.
Let’s say that you are awarded $100,000 in the case, but you were found to be 20 percent at fault. In the state of Massachusetts, you would then have 20 percent docked off of your total award amount, leaving you with $80,000.
Understanding comparative negligence is important because it allows you to collect financial compensation, even if you are partially to blame. It is also important to understand because the evidence that you present is how comparative negligence will be decided. Depending on the settlement of the case, a minimal 10% difference of fault could be a significant amount of compensation. While it may be tempting to agree with the determination, it may also make sense to work with a lawyer who can help you demonstrate your limited fault.
To understand comparative negligence better and to determine its impact on your case, contact a lawyer today. One of the first steps is to understand what the other side is claiming.
What Factors Determine Comparative Negligence?
Negligence refers to the failure to exercise a duty of care. This might include driving under the influence, distracted driving, failing to notify someone of a dangerous situation, or even ignoring necessary repairs. When an accident occurs, it is not uncommon for more than one driver to behave in a way that is considered negligent.
This means that each person is likely to argue that their negligent behavior was less harmful than the others, in an attempt to minimize liability or maximize their compensation.
Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer
Comparative negligence can be a tricky subject, especially when you are responsible for presenting your side of the case and minimizing your contribution to the accident. Whether your goal is to reduce liability or collect more to cover your injuries, these are great reasons for hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case.
An attorney will investigate your accident and make sure that the case is presented to the jury properly. Don’t think that just because you’re somewhat at fault, you can’t file a claim. Talk to an experienced injury attorney at Joel H. Schwartz, PC by completing the form below or by giving us a call at 1-800-660-2270.