Comparative Negligence And Massachusetts Personal Injury Cases

Oftentimes a personal injury accident is clearly the result of a person or company’s negligence. Sometimes though, the injury victim himself may bear some degree of responsibility for causing the accident.  Comparative negligence is recognized in Massachusetts as an affirmative defense.

Essentially it means that the legal responsibilities for causing a personal injury accident is reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to the injury victim.

For example, suppose a car accident claim has a settlement value of $10,000. If the claimant (the one bringing the claim) is found to be 20% at fault, and the other driver is 80% at fault, then the claimant will receive a $8,000 settlement.

It is important to note that if the claimant is found to be greater than 50% at fault for causing the accident, then he will not be entitled to any compensation.

Comparative negligence is widely and frequently raised by insurance companies and their lawyers with slip and fall cases. They will assert the claimant was not watching where he was walking and was not being careful enough, which led to the fall.

Or with pedestrian knockdown cases, they will claim the injured victim was not walking in the crosswalk, or not paying sufficient attention when crossing the street.

Comparative negligence never applies to workers compensation cases as negligence is not part of these cases since they are no-fault based claims.  It also does not apply to social security disability cases either.  It also does not apply to dog bite cases in Massachusetts since these cases are governed by strict liability.