Comparative Negligence

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Definition: Comparative Negligence

Comparative Negligence

What is the dictionary definition of Comparative Negligence?

Dictionary Definition

n. a rule of law applied in accident cases to determine responsibility and damages based on the negligence of every party directly involved in the accident. For a simple example, Eddie Leadfoot, the driver of one automobile, is speeding and Rudy Airhead, the driver of an oncoming car, has failed to signal and starts to turn left, incorrectly judging Leadfoot’s speed. A crash ensues in which Airhead is hurt. Airhead’s damage recovery will be reduced by the percentage his failure to judge Leadfoot’s speed contributed to or caused the accident. Most cases are not as simple, and the formulas to figure out, attribute and compare negligence often make assessment of damages problematic, difficult, and possibly totally subjective. Not all states use comparative negligence (California is a fairly recent convert), and some states still use contributory negligence which denies recovery to any party whose negligence has added to the cause of the accident in any way. Contributory negligence is often so unfair that juries tend to ignore it.

Full Definition of Comparative Negligence

Comparative Negligence is the process the court uses in certain states to determine who is responsible for an accident and how the compensation will be distributed for property damage or personal injury loss between each of the parties in the case. For instance, if a plaintiff is found at fault 25% for their injuries they may still receive compensation minus their degree of fault but the defendant would recover 75% of the compensation. States using pure comparative negligence are Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota and the state of Washington.

Under pure comparative negligence systems, it is important to hire a personal injury lawyer to argue your case so they prove your culpability for your own injuries is very low and you will be awarded the highest compensation possible. The decision for fault is made after the court hears the evidence for the personal injury case.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Comparative Negligence. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
January 23, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Comparative Negligence. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: January 23, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Comparative Negligence. Retrieved January 23, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Comparative Negligence are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 0 Views.