A person is applying a bandage on another person’s hand

Understanding Comparative Negligence in New Jersey Personal Injury Cases

If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident, it’s crucial for you to know about comparative negligence to file a personal injury case. Understanding how it works and its implications on your claim can help you better navigate the legal process and improve your chances of obtaining fair compensation.

Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine used to allocate fault for an accident among all parties involved. This means that the court will determine the percentage of blame each party bears for causing the accident. In contrast, some states follow a "contributory negligence" system, where if you are found even slightly at fault, you are barred from recovering any compensation.

New Jersey adheres to a "modified comparative negligence" system. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

New Jersey's Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

  • Fault Percentage:The court will assess the fault of each party involved in the accident, assigning a percentage of liability (blame) to each. For example, the court might find you 20% at fault and the other party 80% at fault.
  • Reduced Damages:If you are found partially at fault, your compensation award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Continuing the prior example, if your total damages are $100,000, and you are found 20% at fault, you would receive $80,000 (100,000 x (1 - 0.20)).
  • 51% Bar Rule:New Jersey follows the modified comparative negligence rule with a 51% threshold. If you are found to be 51% or more at fault for the accident, you are barred from recovering any compensation from other parties.

How Comparative Negligence Affects Your Claim

Determining Fault

In a personal injury case, determining fault is essential. Evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and expert testimonies help establish the degree of fault for each party.

Important Tips: Collect as much evidence as possible from the accident scene, including photos, videos, and witness information. This evidence will be crucial in establishing fault. Get immediate medical attention and keep detailed records of your injuries and treatment. Medical documentation is essential for proving the extent of your damages.

medical imaging of an injury on the handImpact on Compensation

The amount of compensation you receive is directly impacted by your percentage of fault. Accurately assessing and arguing the degree of fault can make a significant difference in your recovery.

Negotiation and Litigation

Insurance companies and opposing parties often use the comparative negligence rule to minimize their liability. Understanding this principle helps you better negotiate settlements and prepare for litigation if necessary.

Important Tips: Be mindful of what you say to insurance adjusters and other parties involved in the case. Statements can be used against you to argue a higher degree of fault.

Comparative negligence can be a complex legal concept. Hiring our experienced personal injury attorney Wayne, NJ, can significantly improve your chances of a favorable outcome. At Donnelly & Warner, our personal injury lawyers have litigation expertise and courtroom experience. Whether it’s an automobile accident or a construction accident, we can help you get a fair compensation.

Call us now for a free legal consultation.