Many civil court actions rely on proving certain parties are at fault. When one party can prove another's negligence caused an injury, then compensation may be awarded—this is the basis of personal injury law. However, what if multiple parties are at fault? What if the injured party also contributed in some way to their own injury?
In these more complex situations, New Hampshire—and many other states—offer something called modified comparative fault. Comparative fault allows a certain percentage of negligence to be assigned to multiple parties during a civil court action. If compensation is awarded, then the amount recoverable by the plaintiffs is then determined by their percentage of fault.
For instance, in the case of a theoretical car pile-up, drivers A and B sue driver C for injuries and damages sustained during the accident. The jury awards $10,000 to each of the victims, but finds that driver C is not solely at fault. They found:
- Driver A to be 10% at fault.
- Driver B to be 30% at fault.
- Driver C to be 60% at fault.
This would mean that driver A would be able to collect $10,000 minus their percentage of fault: $9,000. In the same way, driver B's $10,000 would be reduced by 30%, and he/she could collect $7,000.
Under modified comparative fault law, driver C cannot collect money even though he/she was found to not be completely at fault. According to modified comparative fault law, parties who are found to be 51% or more at fault cannot be awarded money.
Take a Firm Stance
For those seeking compensation for personal injury, modified comparative fault is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows many plaintiffs who may have accidentally contributed to their injury to still pursue and collect proceeds. On the other hand, the law also allows for fault to be assigned to the plaintiff and, without assertive counsel by their side, they may find themselves shouldering more blame than they deserve.
That is why it absolutely imperative to have seasoned and aggressive legal representation during a personal injury suit. At Mulvey, Cornell & Mulvey, our team have been asserting the rights or our clients for more than 30 years. We know the vigilance and tenacity it takes to make sure fault is properly assigned during an injury suit and how to ensure maximum compensation is exhaustively pursued.
If you or a loved one has been hurt, make sure the parties at fault answer for their negligence. Call a New Hampshire personal injury attorney at our firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.