For centuries, the legal system has struggled with the fact that there are times when both the plaintiff and the defendant helped to create an injury-causing accident. At first, the legal system dealt with that problem by creating the influence known as contributory negligence. Today, more and more legal jurisdictions might charge a plaintiff or victim with comparative negligence.
What is contributory negligence?
That is the legal doctrine that has declared that if someone’s negligence injures another party, that negligent person cannot be made responsible for the resulting injury, in the event that the other party was also negligent. In states that exercise the doctrine known as contributory negligence, a plaintiff cannot sue someone for accident-acquired injuries, if that defendant can show that the plaintiff was also negligent. For instance, a diver could not get sued for hitting a pedestrian, if that particular pedestrian had been jaywalking, when he or she got hit.
What is comparative negligence?
In a legal system that has adopted the approach known as comparative negligence, some person that is not influenced by the plaintiff or the defendant must calculate how any award money will get apportioned between the plaintiff and the defendant. Both of them have played some part in causing a particular accident.
Who oversees the making of such a calculation?
If the jury must make those calculations, it gets provided with complex formulas, and some member of the court system can assist the jury. In some jurisdictions, the judge performs those calculations. Today, some judges have access to special software.
What is the purpose of the calculations?
Personal injury lawyer in Grand Prairie knows that to determine what percent of a given accident was caused by actions that had been carried out by the defendant, and what part by actions that had been carried out by the plaintiff. The calculated figures indicate what portion of the award money should go to the plaintiff, and what portion should go to the defendant.
What does the history of comparative and contributory negligence say about our legal system?
That system does not have any rules that are written in stone. The legal system can be changed, if that change would help the disputing sides to obtain a fair judgement. When the legal system felt that contributory negligence was unfair to voters, it created the approach known as comparative negligence. At the present time, each legal jurisdiction gets to decide on the approach that it will use. Some opt for using contributory negligence, others elect to use comparative negligence. Either of those approaches might get replaced in the future. Of course, lawyers would certainly chime-in, regarding any change. Yet human nature would not change; people would keep being both negligent and careless, thus causing accidents.