What Contributory Negligence Means In New Jersey Car Accidents

People who have been involved in a car accident will understandably want to hold the negligent party accountable for damages. In New Jersey, there is a law in place that governs how negligence and motor vehicle accidents work together. To file a successful claim, plaintiffs should understand the concept of comparative negligence.

The State of New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance points out that contributory negligence refers to the percentage of fault each party had in the incident. Insurance companies are the entities that will investigate the situation to determine fault. They could consider the following factors:

  • Failure to apply brakes
  • Failure to sound the horn
  • Driver inattention
  • Failing to observe

The law requires that in order for a plaintiff to recover damages, he or she must not be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. Additionally, the plaintiff’s reward will be reduced by his or her percentage fault. Therefore, if the plaintiff was awarded $1,000 but found to be 20 percent responsible, he or she would only receive $800.

Factors that can be used to support a plaintiff’s claim could include police reports and witness testimonies. The Department of Banking & Insurance notes that people who are not satisfied with their assigned percentage can talk to the claims adjuster and proceed with an appeal through the insurer’s process.

Anyone intending to file a personal injury claim in New Jersey must do so before the statute of limitations expires. There is a two-year statute of limitations on car accident lawsuits.

Date Published: February 12, 2018

Written by: Cooper Levenson, P.A.

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