What is Comparative Negligence? | Scott Goodwin Law

What is Comparative Negligence?

by / Wednesday, 27 March 2024 / Published in Michigan Law, Personal Injury
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Negligence is an important part of any personal injury case, whether it’s a car accident, medical malpractice, a dog bite, or a slip and fall. However, there are different types of negligence that could be involved in a case, like comparative negligence. 

Comparative negligence is a concept where fault for an accident is divided between the parties involved based on how much the actions of each person contributed to the accident. For example, in a car accident case where a speeding driver hit a car that was properly stopped at a red light, the speeding driver would likely be found to be 100% at fault. However, in other situations, fault might be split 50-50, 70-30, or a number of other ways. The percentage of fault is used to determine their eligibility to collect damages and how much they can collect if they are eligible. 

Comparative Negligence in Michigan

Under Michigan’s comparative negligence law, people who have been injured cannot seek compensation for non-economic damages for their injuries if they are more than 50% at fault for the accident. Non-economic damages can include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, reduced quality of life, and the inability to enjoy activities they had enjoyed before the accident. They may still be able to collect economic damages (such as medical bills, lost income, and property damage) related to the accident, but the amount they will be awarded will be reduced by the percentage at fault they’re found to be. 

For example, let’s say there is a car accident case where one driver is found to be 75% responsible for the accident and the other is 25% at-fault. If the driver 75% at fault has economic damages totalling $10,000, they would only be awarded $2,500 because it would be reduced by 75%.

Comparative Negligence & Michigan No-Fault

Since Michigan has a no-fault law that applies to car accidents, you might be wondering how comparative negligence affects car accident cases. In Michigan, people involved in car accidents each go through their own insurance to recover their damages regardless of who is at fault. And if injuries are involved, people will still be able to get no-fault benefits for their medical care even if they were fully at fault for the crash. However, if you want to pursue collecting non-economic damages or excess economic damages not covered by Michigan no-fault, that’s when comparative negligence could affect your case. 

Contact a Michigan Personal Injury Lawyer 

If you’ve been injured in an accident of any kind, be sure to contact a personal injury lawyer for help. At Scott Goodwin Law, you’ll be able to get help from lawyers experienced in handling a wide range of personal injury cases in the State of Michigan. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation where you can get answers to your questions and learn more about your legal options.