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What Is Comparative Negligence In a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Most New Orleans personal injury lawsuits involve a question of who was negligent.  Negligence in a personal injury case means conduct that falls below the standard of care required to protect others (or yourself) from the unreasonable risk of harm.  In cases where more than one party caused the accident or an injured person acted in a way that contributed to his own injuries, the comparative negligence of the parties may be a factor in the case.

Comparative negligence – also called comparative fault – refers to the degree of negligence engaged in by each of the parties, including the injured person, that led to the injured person being harmed.  Under prior Louisiana law, any comparative negligence by an injured person often barred recovery of any damages.  Louisiana changed this law in 1979 and further modified it in 1996.  The current law allows an injured person to recover at least some damages where a personal injury is caused by the negligence of another person, even if the injured person’s own actions also contributed to the accident.

When hearing a case involving comparative negligence, the judge or jury must assign a percentage of fault to all parties whose actions caused or contributed to the accident, with the final percentages totaling 100%.  Each party is then responsible for paying the percentage of the damages assigned to it.  If the injured person is found comparatively negligent, his total damages are reduced by the percentage he was found to be at fault.

If you have been injured in an accident – even if you were partially at fault – please feel free to call us with your questions.  We can be reached at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.