New Jersey Negligence Law
Just because you can identify the negligent party that you feel caused your injury in an accident does not mean that you can easily win a case against them. Apart from having to prove that that party’s negligent actions are directly responsible for your injury, you have to prove that you are not partly to blame for your own injury. You see New Jersey is among the states that have comparative negligence law. The law allows a jury to assign a degree of fault in percentages to each party involved in an accident.
Recovering Damages Under Comparative Negligence Law
A plaintiff will only be compensated if their degree or percentage of fault is lesser than that of the defendant. However, any damages that the party with the lesser degree of fault is seeking will be diminished by the percentage of fault they share for the accident. If you were 50 percent responsible for the accident that led to you injuries, then the full compensation amount you would have received had you not been partly at-fault, will be reduced by 50 percent.
For example, if you were seeking $1000 in compensation and the jury finds that you are 50 percent at fault, you would only receive $500. You cannot obtain compensation if your percentage of fault is more than 50 percent. However, you may recover the full amount of damages if the other party was 60 percent at fault for your injuries. Remember that the percentage of fault or negligence of each party is based on 100 percent, and the total of all percentages of negligence or fault of all parties involved in the accident is 100 percent.
Contributory Negligence Vs Comparative Negligence
N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.1 provides that “contributory negligence shall not bar recovery by any person or his legal representative to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or injury to person or property…” That means that in New Jersey you can seek compensation as long as you suffered significant damages in an accident that was mostly the fault of someone else. But in states where contributory negligence is a rule, you cannot seek or receive compensation.
Contributory negligence prevents victims that share any degree of fault for an accident from recovering any compensation. That means that even if you were just 10 percent at-fault, you cannot recover any compensation. Contributory negligence is followed in states such as North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and more.
What Is Negligence?
Any person that fails to act in a reasonable way can be referred to as negligent. Unreasonable actions are actions that are below the standard level of care that an ordinary person would have used. For example, a reasonable person will always stop at a stop sign or a red light but an unreasonable person will not do that. Negligence can become a very serious matter if someone gets injured, loses property of significant value, or dies because of someone else’s negligence. In fact, in most personal injury lawsuits, negligence is used to determine whether or not an individual is liable.