Merriam-Webster defines comparative fault as a tort doctrine wherein the faults of the parties involved are compared and awards and compensation reduced, as per the plaintiff’s fault.
To the layman, the nuances associated with a comparative fault can seem somewhat similar to contributory negligence. However, there’s a major difference between the two. Contributory negligence completely bars plaintiffs from collecting any compensation if they are found even partially at fault. On the other hand, comparative negligence offers some leeway as the tort allows plaintiffs to acquire compensation even if they are somewhat at fault, albeit with certain penalties.
The comparative fault does play a significant role in insurance claims. Insurance providers can refuse to pay the damages a plaintiff rightfully deserves citing the plaintiff’s level of fault. The tort can become a double-edged sword in accident claim settlements unless one has capable insurance claim lawyers on their side.
Before we determine how comparative faults affect insurance claims, we first need to understand how federal and state legal systems interpret the comparative fault tort.
Pure Comparative Fault
States that pay heed or rather uphold the comparative fault tort usually have specific rules concerning the application and subsequent distribution of damages. In every case, comparative negligence torts dictate the share of compensation among the parties involved.
States that follow pure comparative negligence laws follow a rule wherein the plaintiff’s percentage lowers their compensation value, irrespective of the fault percentage. In such cases, insurance providers in those states will conduct their investigations to determine how much you are at fault and then reduce the amount of compensation you will receive by that amount. If you are at 25% fault, you will receive 75% of the total compensation amount!
This is the rule of law followed by the state of Louisiana when it comes to comparative fault.
According to the Louisiana Civil Code 2323,
“If a person suffers injury, death, or loss as the result partly of his negligence and partly as the result of the fault of another person or persons, the number of damages recoverable shall be reduced in proportion to the degree or percentage of negligence attributable to the person suffering the injury, death, or loss.”
Plaintiffs need the best accident lawyers in Louisiana to help them prove zero liability and acquire the maximum compensation.
Modified Comparative Fault
33 states across the United States follow the modified comparative fault model. The new rule can be divided into two distinct categories, namely:
- The 50 Percent Bar Rule: Plaintiffs can acquire damages only if their contributory fault is less than 50%. If they are declared 50% at fault or higher, they are not eligible for any damages at all. Furthermore, even those who collect compensation will receive a reduced amount based on their fault percentage.
- The 51 Percent Bar Rule: Almost the same as the 50 percent rule, but the only key difference is that plaintiffs can collect if they are 50% at fault or lesser. They lose all compensation if their fault percentage reaches 51% or more. The amount of compensation received is also reduced by their percentage of fault.
How Does The Comparative Fault Affect Insurance Claims?
- When it comes to the pure comparative fault, victims and plaintiffs can claim compensation from the opposing insurance provider, as long as they are not 100% responsible for the mishap.
A capable insurance claim lawyer or accident attorney can help prove and persuade insurance companies and the court of law about your innocence. They can be instrumental in helping you gain the maximum accident claim settlement.
The state of Louisiana follows the tort of pure comparative negligence. If someone is 20% responsible and the other party is 80%, each can claim the respective amount
from the other’s insurance provider. In case someone is 100% at fault, their insurance provider will provide for all the damages up to the limit after making appropriate deductions.
- In the case of the modified comparative negligence 5% rule, one can collect as long as they are not equally or more responsible than the other party for the mishap. If someone is found 50% or more at fault, they cannot collect anything from the opposing insurance provider.
- 51% rule bars parties from claiming compensation from either if plaintiffs are at a greater fault in cases involving the modified comparative negligence. The only chief difference is that if both the parties are 50% responsible, they claim compensation from the other.
Proving comparative fault is crucial in any insurance claim. The best accident lawyers in Louisiana and capable insurance claim lawyers can help plaintiffs recover their rightful compensation in an insurance claim settlement through careful negotiation and logical rhetoric.
Work with the capable insurance claim and accident lawyers in Louisiana today at L. Clayton Burgess and win the highest compensation for your case!
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