Modified Comparative Fault versus Pure Comparative Fault

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While the majority of U.S. states recognize the comparative fault system when it comes to negligence cases, not all of these states recognize the same kind of comparative fault. In fact, just 13 states follow the idea of pure comparative fault, while 32 have a modified comparative fault law on the books instead. The other five allow for pure contributory negligence which won’t be addressed here.

Modified vs. Pure Comparative Fault

Under both schools of thought, the damages victims can recover in a negligence claim are reduced according to their levels of fault in the accidents. So, if the victim is determined to hold 30 percent of the fault in causing the incident in question, damages will be reduced by 30 percent.

The difference between modified and pure comparative systems lay in how much fault the individual can have and still recover damages. Under a pure comparative fault law, even if victims hold 99 percent of the fault, they can still collect one percent of their damages.

In a modified comparative state, victims would become ineligible to collect any damages once their fault hit a certain level; in some states it’s 50 percent, in others it is 51. If the victim is determined to hold the state’s threshold of fault, he or she can’t recover damages.

Get Help with Comparative Fault Laws & Proving Accident Liability

West Virginia follows a modified comparative fault system. In the state, claimants or plaintiffs must be less than 50 percent at fault to recover damages. So if an accident victim holds 50 percent of fault of an accident, he or she can’t collect damages from the other party.

For more information on comparative fault or for help establishing another party’s fault for an accident, Clarksburg victims should contact an attorney at The Miley Firm today. Be sure to read our eBook, The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Will Wreck Your West Virginia Accident Claim.

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Written by
Tim Miley
Tim Miley is the founder of The Miley Legal Group. After earning his undergraduate degree in finance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, Tim attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where he received his Juris Doctorate. Tim is admitted to practice in all courts in West Virginia and is currently a member of the American Association for Justice, the West Virginia American Association for Justice, the West Virginia Bar Association and the Harrison County Bar Association.
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