Comparative Negligence Law and Legal Definition

Comparative negligence is a rule of law applied in accident cases that assigns responsibility and damages based on the negligence of every party directly involved in the accident. Comparative negligence can reduce the award of damages to the plaintiff in proportion to his/her fault. Comparative negligence is a standard that has been adopted in some states, however, some states still use contributory negligence which denies recovery to any party whose negligence has added to the cause of the accident in any way. Contributory negligence can lead to harsh results for the slightly negligent plaintiff in some cases, and therefore, has led some states to adopt comparative negligence in order to avoid barring the plaintiff from any recovery at all.