Understanding Comparative Negligence

Less than one year ago, West Virginia allowed plaintiffs to pursue any personal injury claim against one or many wrongdoers under the doctrine of joint and several liability. Joint and several liability is the doctrine in which one wrongdoer could be held entirely responsible for any damages that resulted from even the slightest form of negligence. On March 5, 2015, joint and several liability was abolished and comparative negligence was adopted in West Virginia. The change in the law impacts the validity of every personal injury law claim throughout the state. Colombo Law has experienced personal injury law attorneys who can advise you of the impact that the law may have on your claim.

Types of Comparative Negligence

There are a few different forms of comparative negligence. One form of comparative negligence is pure comparative negligence. A pure comparative negligence standard is one that indicates the injured party is only permitted to recover to the extent to which they did not contribute to their injury. For example, if a jury determines that the plaintiff was partially responsible for the injury and determined that the plaintiff was 80% at fault, the plaintiff would only be entitled to recover 75% of any monetary damages awarded.

Another form of comparative negligence is the modified comparative negligence standard. The modified comparative negligence standard mirrors some of the principles outlined under the pure comparative negligence standard, in that a plaintiff is only entitled to recover to the extent to which they did not contribute to their injury. However, under the modified comparative negligence standard, a plaintiff is only entitled to recover if their own negligence contributed to 50% or less of their own injuries.

Common Types of Negligence

In many cases, plaintiffs do not understand how their actions contributed to their injuries. A plaintiff may contribute to their injuries in the following ways:

  • Failure to obtain prompt medical treatment: After an accident or incident an injured party should promptly seek medical attention. At Colombo Law, we understand that there are often a variety of circumstances that deter some individuals from seeking prompt medical attention. However, there are some instances in which defendants assert that injured parties further contributed to their damages by failing to seek proper medical treatment after an accident.
  • Failure to wear a seatbelt in auto accidents: In many states there are laws that require individuals to wear seatbelts as a safety precaution. A defendant may assert that a victim was negligent by failing to use a seatbelt if it further contributed to the extent of their injuries.
  • Failure to use a product as intended: For products liability claim, a defense may be asserted if a victim was not using the product for the purpose for which it was designed.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident in the state of West Virginia, contact one of the experienced attorneys at Colombo Law. Our attorneys will meet with you to determine whether you have a valid claim of recovery. You will find that our attorneys are trustworthy and honest counselors who will guide you to accurately determine your probability of success. We have successfully represented clients throughout the state of West Virginia.

Photo Copyright: kzenon / 123RF Stock Photo


by Colombo Law
Last updated on - Originally published on