How Do States Compare with Comparative Negligence?

When you’re injured in an accident that took place outside of your home state, you could face additional headaches dealing with the out-of-state claims process. Not only are you in unfamiliar territory, there’s a good chance you don’t know this state’s auto injury laws. Many injured clients are understandably confused over how to settle these unique accident claims.

While many legal procedures are similar throughout the USA, there are nuances crash victims should be aware of. This is especially the case with comparative negligence policies in different territories.

What Are Compliance Negligence Laws?

Simply put, comparative negligence refers to how juries can dole out the “blame” for a crash case. States that enact comparative negligence policies could reduce a plaintiff’s total compensation depending on their “fault percentage.”

When your accident takes place in California, it is subject to pure comparative fault standards. This means Californian courts can assign partial blame to the plaintiff, thus reducing the total damages claim.

Similarly, Washington also established a pure comparative fault system. Under this policy, plaintiffs may get assigned a certain percentage of blame for their accident.

While Washington State and California have similar standards, most states have “modified comparative fault” schemes. Generally, these policies define a “threshold” of blame where plaintiffs can’t recover any damages. So, if a state has modified comparative negligence laws at 51 percent, plaintiffs can’t exceed this level to get compensation.

Both of these standards are in stark contrast to contributory negligence laws. Unlike compliance negligence, states with contributory standards remove any potential for plaintiffs to collect damages if they’re partially responsible for their crash.

So, Who Gets the Blame in Out-Of-State Collisions?

Most states have nonresident motorist statutes that allow them to oversee the rulings of cases where a nonresident motorist causes an accident in that state. For example, if an Idaho driver causes an accident in Washington, the state of Washington could oversee the proceedings. This could have some legal benefits to one or both parties.

Where Can You Learn More About Comparative Negligence Laws?

As you can see, there are many complex policies for assigning fault throughout the USA. Motorists who do a lot of traveling may want to research the different laws in various states. Knowing these statutes ahead of time could help you better prepare for potential legal issues.

If you need help figuring out how negligence works, you should speak with a registered attorney in whatever state you’re visiting. You could also learn a great deal from a skilled injury lawyer in your home state. Even though local lawyers may not hold degrees in your target state, they should be familiar with comparative and contributory negligence.

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