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What is comparative negligence in Ohio?

Anyone who has been involved in an accident and opts to pursue compensation for their injuries might hear the term "comparative negligence." This term refers to the legal basis of how a person can seek compensation that is based on fault.

What is comparative negligence?

Comparative negligence uses a percentage-based method to split the costs of accident damages between drivers. It takes into account how much of the negligence that caused the accident each driver had.

What is negligence?

Negligence refers to the failure of a person to exercise the care required to avoid injuring someone else in a given situation. An example of negligence would be a driver who is speeding at night when it is raining.

How does complainant negligence affect compensation?

Under the comparative negligence law, the amount of the settlement a person can receive is reduced if that person is found to be at fault. Simply put, if a complainant is determined to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, the possible settlement he or she can receive would be reduced by 20 percent.

Is there a cap on the percentage of complainant negligence allowed for compensation?

In Ohio, a person can't receive any compensation if his or her share of the negligence of the accident is more than 50 percent. This means that if one person is said to be 51 percent negligent and the other person is 49 percent negligent, the person who is 51 percent negligent can't seek compensation but the person who is 49 percent negligent can.

As you can imagine, comparative negligence can have a big impact on settlements. Fully understanding how to apply the concept is vital for anyone seeking compensation.

Source: State of Ohio, "Understanding Ohio's Comparative Negligence Law," accessed April. 21, 2015

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