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The Basics of Negligence

Posted on August 21, 2016

Proving the elements of negligence is essential to a personal injury claim. To prove negligence, the injured party must show there was a (1) duty owed to them (2) the injuring party breached that duty (3) the injuring party was the actual and proximate cause of the injury, meaning without their actions, the injury would not have occurred, and (4) damages resulted. Where states differ in their negligence analysis is the degree of negligence the court requires each party be attributable to recover. There are two types of negligence laws that states follow, either comparative or contributory negligence.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence allows a party to recover damages from the other party, even though both parties were at fault to a certain degree. Two types of comparative negligence exist, with the difference being the percentage to which they allow a party to be at fault to recover.

Pure comparative negligence is followed in 13 states throughout the United States. These states allow recovery of damages even if the party is 99% responsible for the damages. However, the damages that will be recoverable are reduced by the party’s degree of fault. Hence, recovery can be quite small in some situations.

Modified comparative fault is followed in 33 states. This model of fault allows a party to recover damages if they are either 50% or 51% at fault, depending on the jurisdiction. The 50% bar rule is followed in 12 states and follows the ruling that if the party is 49% or less at fault they will be able to recover, with their recovery being reduced by their degree of fault. The other rule, the 51% bar rule is followed in the other 21 states and holds that a party can recover if they are 50% or less at fault, with their recovery being reduced by their fault as well. Oklahoma follows the 51% bar rule for modified comparative negligence rules.

Contributory Negligence

A less popular approach is taken in the remaining 4 states and the District of Columbia. Contributory negligence rules bar recovery when a party is found at fault for any percentage of the injury, even if it is 1%. Due to the strict nature of these rules, they are not followed as commonly, as courts generally seek to make rulings fair for both parties.

Negligence Tulsa Cases

If you or someone you know was injured due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation. At the office of Charles Bryan Alred, PC, we will fight aggressively on your behalf to ensure you are eligible to receive the maximum amount of damages. Contact us today for a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys by calling (918) 745-9960