The Difference Between Contributory and Comparative Negligence

Sheryl L. Burke
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Atlanta Injury Attorney

When determining accident liability, it is important to understand the differences between contributory and comparative negligence, as the law varies from state to state. In Georgia, a modified version of comparative negligence is used to allocate injury claim compensation.

Under the general rules of comparative negligence, an injured person can still recover compensation even if he or she was partly to blame for the accident.
Depending on the determination of fault in the accident, the amount a plaintiff can recover could be partial or none at all.

There are 3 variations of comparative negligence, including: 

  • pure comparative negligence;
  • modified comparative negligence - 51% rule; and
  • modified comparative negligence - 50% rule.  

Georgia uses the modified comparative negligence 50% rule to determine compensation for accident liability.

That means if you are in an accident in Georgia and are found 49% or less at fault for the accident, you may still be able to recover some compensation. The amount of compensation will be reduced by your degree of fault. For example, if you were found 15% at fault for your accident, your award or settlement will be reduced by 15%. 

The 5 states that follow contributory negligence have very restricted options for accident victims. Under contributory negligence, an injured person in an accident can only recover compensation for his or her injuries and damages if they are not found at fault for their accident in any way. This means you could be found 1% at fault for an accident and still lose any eligibility for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses.

You can learn more about Georgia's comparative negligence laws by visiting our article library.

Contacting an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are the victim of someone else's negligence or carelessness, whether in a traffic accident or some other type of accident, you have certain rights guaranteed by law. To help you understand these rights and seek the compensation you may be eligible for to help get your life back in order, contact the Atlanta Law Offices of Sheryl L. Burke for a no-cost consultation on your injury case - 404-842-7838.

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