Connecticut is a 51% modified comparative fault state. But what does that mean, and how can that impact you if you’ve had an accident?

If you have been injured in an accident but you haven’t filed a personal injury claim because you were found to be partially responsible for the accident you may still be able to file a personal injury claim. The 51% modified comparative fault allows anyone who has been injured an accident but is 50% or less at fault for the accident to file a personal injury claim. If you are more than 51% at fault for the accident you can file a claim but your claim will most likely be denied.

Not all states uses the 51% modified comparative fault rule but if yours does you have a good chance of filing a successful personal injury claim as long as you are less than 50% at fault for the accident.

The Question of Fault

Who caused the car accident? Nine times out of ten, you are not going to be able to come up with only one person who is at fault. Usually each person has some part in the action, whether it is a small part or a significant cause of why the accident happened.

Therefore, is it fair to push blame on all one person? It is this question that brought about the concepts of contributory negligence and comparative fault. Both theories are used as defenses to mitigate how much the person who caused the car accident has to pay.

Contributory fault bars the party who is seeking compensation from damages based on the fact that he or she played a part in the cause of the accident, no matter how small. Comparative fault is a less restrictive way of mitigating how much a party has to pay for damages.

Comparative Fault

Comparative fault divides damages up between parties based upon the percentage of “fault” or negligence they towards causing the accident. The plaintiff is compensated for his or her injuries but this amount is reduced by the percentage he or she was found to be negligent.

Under the pure form of comparative fault, parties are entitled to seek compensation for their injuries even if one party is found to be 99 percent at fault while the other is one percent. That party that is 99 percent at fault can be compensated for the small amount he or she was injured, the one percent.

The Reasoning Behind the Rule

The number 51 may seem like an arbitrary figure, but it actually is quite intentional. This modified form of comparative negligence is intended to keep a plaintiff from recovering damages if he or she is more responsible for his or her injuries than the defendant.

It is a way to reduce the number of legal claims that have very little merit, which are created when the pure comparative negligence standard is utilized. However, it is also intended to allow for some room for error when the plaintiff was at least somewhat negligent in causing the accident.

Under the pure contributory negligence standard, he or she would be completely barred from any compensation. The modified comparative negligence approach is the middle ground between pure comparative and pure contributory negligence, somewhere between overly restrictive and overly permissive

Speak to an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

Need help? Then you should contact the Law Offices of Keith Anthony at (860) 333-6455. Attorney Keith Anthony can help you navigate thru this process, step by step and is open to assist you.