What is pure comparative negligence?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Mississippi is a pure comparative negligence state. In short, this means that you may remain eligible for compensation after an injury even if you were partially at fault. 

In some states, you may not receive compensation for an injury if you contributed at all to the accident. In other states, you may not collect damages if you were more than 50% at fault. But in Mississippi, you may receive damages for an accident no matter how much you were at fault, so long as the other party’s negligence also contributed to the injury. 

Contributory negligence and comparative negligence

As FindLaw explains, only a few states still subscribe to the doctrine of contributory negligence, where even 1% of fault bars a plaintiff from receiving damages. Most states instead use comparative negligence, which allows injured parties to remain eligible for compensation even if their own negligence contributed to the injury. In these states, courts will compare the relative negligence of each party and assign it a percentage. 

There are two types of comparative negligence: Modified and pure. Modified comparative negligence allows compensation for plaintiffs who are less than 50% at fault for an accident — or who were less to blame for an accident than was the defendant. 

Pure comparative negligence, as in Mississippi, allows a plaintiff to remain eligible for damages even if he or she is 99% at fault for an accident. The defendant simply needs to have contributed at least 1% of negligence to the incident in question. 

Damages under comparative negligence

Under both pure and modified comparative negligence, the total amount of damages reduces proportionally to the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. In other words, a court would assess the total amount of compensation an injury warrants. Then the judge would order the defendant to pay the total amount of damages less the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. 

For example, if a business leaves an ice patch in the doorway, and you run recklessly up to the door and slip, a court may decide that the business was 60% at fault for leaving the ice, and you were 40% at fault for running recklessly in inclement, freezing weather. The court may then order the business to pay you 60% of the total damages. 

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