What is Comparative Negligence?

To put it simply, it just means the court or a jury compares the level of fault or negligence of all parties involved in the accident. Just because someone believes you are partially at fault for your injuries does not necessarily mean you can’t be compensated for your injuries.

The fault of all parties is compared, and compensation is paid according to fault.

In some States, the injured person is completely barred from recovery even if they were only a little bit at fault. Other States allow the injured person to receive compensation even when they were mostly at fault for the accident.

Utah is a modified comparative fault state.  In Utah, you cannot recover damages for an accident if you were more responsible for the accident than the defendant. If you were 49 percent at fault for the accident, you can recover 49 percent of the damage award. If you are 50 percent at fault, you cannot recover anything.

If it is determined that you were less than 50% at fault for your injuries, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

For example, if the injured person is 30 percent liable for the accident, that percentage will be removed from the damage award. If the jury awards $10,000.00, the injured person who was 30 percent at fault for the accident would only receive 70 percent of the award, or $7,000.00.

Utah Code Annotated 78B-5-818 discusses comparative negligence.  It provides that the fault of a person seeking recovery may not alone bar recovery by that person.  A person seeking recovery may recover from any defendant or group of defendants if their fault exceeds the person’s fault who was injured.

In 1984, Utah Supreme Court, in Jensen v. Intermountain Health Care Inc. 629 P.2d 903 (Utah 1984) discussed Utah Code and other State’s laws and cleared up what happens when there are multiple parties responsible for harming someone. It provided for a system of loss allocation by apportioning liability among all tortfeasors and then requiring each tortfeasor to pay according to their percentage of fault even if their percentage of fault was less than the injured person’s fault. (so long as the injured person’s fault was less than 50%).

If you have been injured in an accident, contact one of our South Jordan Personal Injury Attorneys. Even if you may have slightly contributed to the accident, you may still be entitled to recover if another individual or individuals were more at fault than you.

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