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Modified comparative negligence in personal injury cases

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | Blog, Car Accidents

Are you a New Jersey driver who got into a car accident? You, the other party or both of you may have sustained personal injury that the insurance now has to compensate. In some cases, insurance companies plead modified comparative negligence, which is the so-called 51% rule.

Do you share responsibility for the accident?

Perhaps the other driver was texting while driving, and you were changing the radio station. In the aftermath of a collision, the insurance company may state that both parties acted negligently. If you implied at the accident scene that you might have caused the crash, the insurer may have a case. Personal injury attorneys across the country warn against making this sort of admission.

What is the 51% rule?

The insurer will attempt to allocate fault. They might argue that you are 51% at fault in the accident. While this means that the other party carries 49% of the blame, it also means that you cannot collect damages. Statistically, you are the at-fault party. In law, attorneys call this modified comparative negligence. It gives the insurer some wiggle room.

How do you know who is at fault?

Apportioning fault in a car accident is the job of the authorities and the courts. Remember that you shouldn’t suggest in any way that you were responsible – not even a little.

During the investigation of the crash, the insurer will look at the police report, witness statements and video footage. Whether you received a ticket will also be taken into account. If it is difficult to make sense of the accident scene, they might seek to recreate it.

Were you involved in a vehicle accident? Is the adjuster claiming that you are 51% at fault? It could be in your best interests to discuss your case with an attorney.