Comparative Negligence in New Jersey: What Residents Should Know

If you were to ask a hundred Americans to define what “fairness” means in today’s society, you are likely to get a hundred different responses. In many aspects of our world, what is fair is somewhat subjective. However, when it comes to cases of determining fault for auto accidents that cause personal injury to others, New Jersey law has created a system that aims to eliminate subjectivity from the equation.

When a motor vehicle accident occurs, there are times where each party was equally responsible for the events leading up to the accident. There are also instances in which one party was clearly 100% negligent and caused the accident purely due to their own actions. However, as any experienced personal injury attorney can attest, in the majority of auto accident cases the fault lies somewhere in between.

New Jersey, like many other states, uses a system of fault determination known as “comparative negligence” when assessing responsibility for personal injury cases. Under this system, a court will look at the number of the plaintiff’s damages and also review the extent to which each party was at fault. The ultimate amount you are eligible to receive in compensation can be impacted by the percentage you are determined to be at fault.

While frequent and ongoing consultation with your personal injury attorney is always the best way to get your questions answered, there is some general information about fault determination in New Jersey that all residents should know.

Comparative Negligence vs. Modified Comparative Fault

As mentioned above, New Jersey uses the comparative negligence system of fault determination.  However, there is actually more than one type of comparative negligence system in America, and these different types of rules place limits on how and when plaintiffs can actually collect compensation for personal injury damages incurred.

New Jersey’s comparative negligence framework is known as “modified comparative fault.”  Under this framework, you as the plaintiff will have your overall compensation reduced by the ratio you are determined to be at fault. However, if you are over 50% at fault for the accident, you cannot receive any compensation for damages.

A modified comparative fault state such as New Jersey differs from states that follow a “pure comparative fault” structure. The few states that follow this pure version of fault determination allow individuals to recover compensation for damages even if they are over 50% at fault for the accident.

When to Contact an Attorney

If you are injured in an auto accident, navigating the legal process to obtain compensation for your damages can be tricky. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best course of action when attempting to build a case that demonstrates the other parties’ negligence as it relates to your injuries.

For years, the attorneys at Ferrara & Gable have been working with New Jersey residents to fight for the compensation they deserve. Contact Ferrara & Gable today to start building your case on the right foot.