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When a party is liable for the personal injury or illness of another person, the liable party is commonly responsible for the compensation of those injuries or illnesses. A tactic that the defendant in a liability claim would take is using comparative negligence.

There are several ways people can use comparative negligence to affect compensation across various states. Knowing what comparative negligence is and how it can threaten maximum benefit can help accident victims protect their recovery.

Who is at fault?

Comparative negligence allocates how liable each party is for injury or illness. The amount of liability often determines values in percentages totaling to 100%. The amount of responsibility a victim has for their injury or disease often correlates with how much of the total compensation they can receive.

The defendant in a claim will allege that the plaintiff was at least partially, if not wholly, liable for their injuries. The defendant can argue that the plaintiff should have been more aware of the puddle or patch of ice that they slipped on, or that the plaintiff was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they fell down the stairs.

In some states, like Wisconsin, if a court finds a plaintiff to be more responsible for the accident than the defendant, the plaintiff is not eligible for any amount of compensation. It is also possible for a defendant to appeal an initial compensation award and have a settlement removed.

Comparative negligence can change everything

Even if a court awarded compensation, a change in liability contribution could turn a million-dollar settlement into nothing just by proving a victim was mostly responsible.