Comparative Negligence in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2014 | Car Accidents

A great number of car-accident cases hinge on a single word: negligence. Like most legal theories, the exact definition and application of negligence varies from state to state and sometimes issue to issue. A more detailed definition of negligence can be found here but the term basically means one failed to carry out a duty owed to another and that failure caused an injury to the person. This injury can be to a person’s reputation, their finances, but in many cases it is an actual physical or emotional injury.

Not every incident of negligence is 100 percent the fault of the person who owed the duty. Sometimes the person who was injured had a role, whether small or large, in their own injury. Determining how to pay damages to a person who helped cause their own injury can be tricky and different states have come up with different approaches. Massachusetts has come up with its own way to deal with complex negligence cases using the theory of comparative negligence.

There are several different types of comparative negligence applied throughout the nation. Massachusetts applies a modified comparative negligence theory using a 51-percent rule. This means that if it is determined that a person was 50 percent or less responsible for their own injuries they can recover. But if a person is found to be more than halfway or 51 percent responsible for their own injuries they are barred from recovery.

Determining the amount of negligence in a case is left up to the judge or jury and can hinge on the facts of the case and how they are presented. An experienced legal team will be able to present the facts of a case in an easily digestible manner, which could be the difference between recovery and no recovery.

Source: accessed on Aug. 25, 2014

Source: accessed on Aug. 25, 2014


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