What does negligence, i.e. fault, mean? Negligence normally used very broadly, but the general usage is: When a person harms another person and/or their property because he/she acted in a way that a reasonable person, given the same set of circumstances, would not; put simply it is carelessness.
There is no “Only Way” in the United States to decide who is at fault in a motor vehicle accident. Fault is many times dependent on each state’s laws, states a lot of times have differing laws. Also, every accident has different circumstances, so determining fault is normally not a simple task. Circumstances must be analyzed on a case by case bases to determine each party’s degree of responsibility in an accident.
The 5 Basic Fault Types:
No-Fault means that in the event of an accident, the injured party’s medical expenses are paid for by the injured party’s insurance company up to an agreed amount, which is determined by his/her insurance policy contract; basically, no party in an accident is held financially responsible for the other’s medical damages. However, with respect to material damages in an accident, fault is determined by state laws, which differ from state to state. Generally, material damage recovery by an injured party is covered through suit and/or insurance claims.
- Pure Contributory Fault
Pure contributory fault means that if an accident occurs, an injured party may file suit and collect for medical and material damages only if they are 100 percent not at fault. If a party is only 1 percent at fault in an accident, they are entitled to no compensation for any of their damages.
- Pure Comparative Fault
Pure comparative fault means that in the event of an accident, the amount of compensation a party may receive for medical and material damages is dependent on their percentage of fault in the accident. The general idea is that if a party is 100 percent not at fault, he/she may receive the full amount of his/her incurred damages. If a party is 20 percent at fault, he/she may receive only 80 percent of the damages he/she incurred. However, each state’s laws are different. For instance, if both parties are found to be equally at fault, one state may determine that each party is entitled to 50 percent of their incurred damages while another may determine that each party is entitled to no compensation.
- Modified Comparative Fault – 50 Percent Rule
This type of comparative fault means that if either party in an accident is 50 percent or more at fault, they are entitled to no compensation for their incurred damages. If both parties are equally at fault, then neither is eligible for damage compensation. If one party is less than 50 percent at fault, he or she may receive compensation based on that percentage of fault.
- Modified Comparative Fault – 51 Percent Rule
This type of comparative fault means that if a party in an accident is 51 percent or more at fault, they may receive no compensation for their damages; essentially, the more negligent party receives nothing while the less negligent party receives compensation based on their percentage of fault.