Written by attorney Ronald Walter Kim

Comparative Negligence


Comparative Fault (Negligence): A doctrine of tort (personal injury) law which permits the plaintiff and the defendant and others to compare their liability for the accident. It allows proportionate recovery if both the plaintiff and defendant were at fault and thereby contributed to the cause of the injury. There are two categories of comparative fault: (1) Pure comparative fault and (2) modified comparative fault. In Tennessee the courts follow “modified comparative fault”. If you are involved in an accident (auto, premises liability, product liability, etc.), the defendant can blame another party should be held responsible for some or all of your injuries. The defendant can even blame you for your own injuries because of your negligence for the accident. Once this issue has been brought into a lawsuit, the issue of who is at fault or how much a part of the fault for the accident has to be decided by a jury (or judge if a jury trial has not been demanded). For example, if you are involved in a head on collision in the middle of the highway, it is up to you to prove that the defendant was on the wrong side of the road and caused the accident. If a jury gives you a verdict of $100,000.00 in damages, but decides that you are 30% at fault for the accident, you will collect $70,000.00 – modified comparative fault. (If a jury decides each of you are 50% (or greater) at fault, you collect no money – even if they give you an award of $100,000.00.) The states of Florida and Mississippi are “pure comparative negligence” states. Which means that a claimant can collect from a defendant even he or she was found 99% at fault by the judge or jury. If a jury gives claimant a verdict of $100,000.00 in damages, but decides that claimant is 1% at fault for the accident, Claimant will collect $1.000.00 – pure comparative fault. However, Alabama follows “pure contributory negligence” . In other words, if claimant is found to be 1% at fault for the accident, claimant cannot collect compensation for your injury no matter what damages were incurred. So remember – Any case, big or small, it never hurts to give us a call. Don’t settle out cheap. The right lawyer can make a difference. We hope you never need an attorney, but if you do, we are here to fight for you!

Additional resources provided by the author

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Avvo personal injury email series

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer