When most of us picture taking someone to court with an injury claim, we tend to think in simple terms: the plaintiff has been hurt and a single defendant is 100% responsible for the injury. Surely, this is sometimes the case—but in other instances, the circumstances of an accident require a more careful and subtle approach to determining fault.
WHAT IS COMPARATIVE FAULT?
Nebraska’s comparative fault law allows for negligence in civil cases to be distributed among multiple parties. This is useful in cases that involve multiple parties at fault or when the injured plaintiff themselves somehow contributed to their own accident.
This portion of negligence that comparative fault allows is represented by a percentage. This percentage can then reduce the amount of compensation that is awarded to any plaintiffs. If that negligence is found to be 50% or higher, however, that party is ineligible to receive any money (because they have found to be chiefly responsible for the accident).
COMPARATIVE FAULT IN ACTION
To better explain how comparative fault works, let’s take a look at an example of three drivers. Driver A rolled through a stop sign, hitting Driver B. Driver C, who was traveling behind Driver B, was speeding, couldn’t stop in time, and hit both other cars. All drivers sustained significant injuries and property damage. For the sake of simplicity, let’s also say that every driver is seeking $1 million in damages.
A jury then determined the following:
- Driver A was found to be 60% at fault for rolling through a stop sign
- Driver B was not found to be at fault
- Driver C was found to be 40% at fault for speeding
In this scenario, Driver B is awarded the full $1 million. Driver C is also awarded the $1 million, but their 40% reduction due to their assigned fault means that they can only collect $600,000 of that award. Driver A was found to be over 50% at fault, which bars them from collecting any money
Have you or a loved one been hurt in a dangerous accident that wasn’t their fault? If so, The Robert Pahlke Law Group is ready to hear from you. Our Nebraska personal injury lawyers have more than 85 years of combined legal experience. That means our firm knows what it takes to secure results for our injured clients and how to ensure that the gravity of their injury is known before the law.
Want to learn more about how our firm can help? Contact our offices (308) 633-4444 today.