comparative negligence (doctrine) – reduces a plaintiff’s recovery proportionally to the plaintiff’s degree of fault in causing the damage, rather than barring recovery completely

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comparative negligence:

1. A plaintiff’s own negligence that proportionally reduces the damages recoverable from a defendant. — aka comparative fault. [1]

1. The negligence of the defendant in an action to recover damages for negligence as compared with that of the plaintiff, the comparison being made for the purpose of applying the rule of admiralty, which has been adopted by statute for negligence cases generally in some jurisdictions, that the more gross the negligence of the defendant appears, the less degree of care is required fo the plaintiff to permit a recovery by him; that the negligence o the plaintiff operates, not to relieve the defendant entirely from liability, but merely to diminish the damages recoverable. 38 Am J1st Negl §§ 231-233. [2]

1. The doctrine adopted by most states that requires a comparison of the negligence of the defendant with the negligence o the plaintiff: the greater the negligence of the defendant, the lesser the level of care required of the plaintiff to permit her to recover.  in other words, the plaintiff’s negligence does not defeat her cause of action, but it does reduce the damages she is entitled to recover.
     Compare contributory negligence. [3]

comparative-negligence doctrine (1904) 1. Torts. The principle that reduces a plaintiff’s recovery proportionally to the plaintiff’s degree of fault in causing the damage, rather than barring recovery completely.  *  Most states have statutorily adopted the comparative-negligence doctrine. 

  • apportionment of liability – parceling out of liability or an injury among multiple tortfeasors, and possibly the plaintiff as well. 
  • contributory negligence doctrine – completely bars a plaintiff’s recovery if the damage suffered is partly the plaintiff’s own fault; in most jurisdictions, this defense has been superseded by the comparative negligence doctrine.

Various types of Comparative Negligence Doctrines that can be adopted:

pure comparative-negligence doctrine – an absolute, literal translation of the comparative negligence doctrine that is adopted by a court.

hybrid comparative negligence doctrine – a court’s adoption of the comparative negligence doctrine, wherein, if the plaintiff’s negligence is great enough (usually 50%), the plaintiff is barred from recovering damages.

  • 50-percent rule(1975) 1The principle that liability for negligence is apportioned in accordance with the percentage of fault that the fact-finder assigns to each party, that the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the percentage of negligence assigned to the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff’s recovery is barred if the plaintiff’s percentage of fault is 50% or more. — aka modified-comparative-negligence doctrine; hybrd-comparative-negligence doctrine. [1]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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