How can comparative negligence affect car accident litigation?

Car accidents are often caused by negligent drivers. When distractions, alcohol and other diversions take the focus of a Montana driver off of the road and place it on something or someone else, that driver can quickly lose control of their vehicle and create a dangerous situation on the road. However, not all accidents are caused by the mistakes of just one person. In some cases, the combined negligence of multiple parties can cause automobile collisions and can augment their severity.

Montana law recognizes the concept of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence means that various parties, including a victim, may contribute to the harm that created the injuries at issue. However, a victim's negligence is not necessarily a bar to his or her recovery of damages from the car crash. Under Montana law, a victim's negligence is compared to that of the other parties, and the victim's recovery is reduced by the proportion of negligence that he contributed to the incident.

For example, imagine that a victim suffered $100,000 in losses from a two-car crash. If the victim's actions contributed 10 percent to the cause of the crash and the other driver's negligence contributed 90 percent to the cause of the crash, the victim could recover 90 percent of his damages, or $90,000. If a victim's negligence contributed one hundred percent to the crash then he would not be able to recover.

The discussion of comparative negligence offered in this post is provided as information only. Readers should speak to a personal injury attorney about how comparative negligence may impact the legal outcome of their case. Every car accident case is different and may be impacted in various ways by the application of comparative negligence law.


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