Divided-Damages Rule Law and Legal Definition

Divided-damages rule is a legal principle applied in maritime law requiring the equal division of property damage whenever two or more parties involved are found to be guilty of contributing fault. This rule applies not only in cases of collision between two vessels, but also in cases like this one where a vessel partly at fault is damaged in collision or grounding because of the mutual contributing fault of a nonvessel party.

However, the divided damages rule produced unfair results in many cases, especially when the negligence was grossly disproportionate between the parties. [Dodd v. Varady, 799 S.W.2d 216, 218 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1990)]. The courts now apply a comparative-negligence standard.