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Comparative negligence helps determine fault for a car accident

Car accidents are a common occurrence on Louisiana roads. A significant number of residents are injured every year as a result of car accidents. However, sometimes it may be a difficult task to figure out which party is legally at fault for the accident's occurrence. Therefore, an analysis of comparative negligence may be necessary to establish which party contributed significantly to the events which lead to the accident.

The theory of comparative negligence provides that the responsibility of compensating for damages can be assigned and calculated by establishing to what extent each party involved in a particular motor vehicle accident contributed to the incident. For example, one party may have contributed 70 percent to the accident's cause due to negligent behavior. This theory would then allow the party to possibly recover 30 percent of the total value of damages established by the jury. However, this theory may only hold true for those states which apply the "pure" aspects of theory of fault allocation.

The majority of states, however, follow a modified comparative fault model which has two theories for establishing damage recovery. In one theory, the law does not allow a party to recover damages in cases where he or she contributed at least 50 percent of the fault for the car accident.

In the second theory, a party is not allowed to recover damages if it has been established that he or she may have contributed to at least 51 percent of the fault for the accident. However, a third of U.S. states follow the pure comparative fault model, which allows a party to recover damages even if he or she was 99 percent at fault for the accident.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Comparative Negligence," Accessed on Sept. 19, 2014

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