Car crashes are complicated events. Oftentimes there are many factors that combine to cause the collision. A person injured in a car crash may want to seek compensation. However, can they pursue damages if they also played a role in the collision? It depends based on New Jersey comparative negligence laws.
What is negligence?
Before we discuss comparative negligence, it is important to understand what negligence is. A party who is negligent may be responsible for compensating the other party for the harms suffered. There are five factors that must be present to prove negligence. When it comes to car crashes, all drivers have a duty to driver reasonably under the circumstances. If they breach this duty by crashing into someone, the crash caused the other party to suffer damages and the crash was foreseeable, then the injured party may be able to pursue a personal injury claim based on negligence.
What is comparative negligence?
Comparative negligence is the term used to determine to what extent each party to a motor vehicle accident is at-fault. New Jersey Law states that a plaintiff whose degree of fault in a car crash is 50% or less, they can still pursue damages from the defendant. If the plaintiff’s degree of fault is greater than the defendant’s degree of fault the plaintiff cannot recover damages. The total amount of damages awarded will be reduced by the percentage the plaintiff was at fault.
Comparative negligence permits a party who was injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver to pursue damages even if they were partially at-fault for the collision. It’s a means to allow recovery for those who purse a personal injury lawsuit and are entitled to at least some damages. Those considering filing a lawsuit following a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey should do their research if they are wondering if comparative negligence applies to their case.