How Does Comparative Negligence Affect Your Car Accident Claim

Car Accident Claim

Being involved in a vehicular accident is a common occurrence. Nobody wants that to happen, but driving a car entails the risk of automotive collisions. In fact, statistics show that there were over five million car accidents recorded in the United States in 2020, and around 1.5 million of them resulted in injuries. While these numbers show how normal car accidents are, who’s at fault in each case isn’t that straightforward to identify. (1)

Comparative negligence enters the scene. This article will discuss what it is and how it can affect your car accident claim. Continue reading to learn more.

Comparative negligence 101

Suppose you’re driving a car in Oklahoma and a vehicle collides after you make a complete stop. While it may be apparent whose error it was, other factors may come into play, such as you changing lanes and not signaling, the other driver glancing at his phone, and state laws that may have an effect on this. Going through this process can be complicated, that’s why working with a car accident lawyer in Oklahoma City will be helpful with your settlement case.

This example shows how important comparative negligence is. It refers to the legal defense of tort law that measures the responsibilities of the parties involved in a car accident. It examines a person’s negligent actions and how they contributed to the damages as well as one’s pain and suffering.

When the degree of their culpability to the incident is determined, an insurance company can now quantify up to what extent it’ll cover the car accident compensation. Comparative negligence sees to it that the negligence is impartially apportioned among those involved since insurers usually process claims based on the percentage of their client’s involvement. (2)

Types of comparative negligence

Car accident settlements can be tricky as there are varying comparative negligence laws that apply, depending on which state the accident happened. Some apply a pure comparative negligence system. This means that even if the plaintiff is responsible for 99% of the accident, they can still have a car accident claim for the remaining 1%.

For states with a modified comparative negligence system, plaintiffs only have a certain percentage threshold. If it goes beyond that, then accident claims will be deemed null and void. If you’re found guilty of causing it and are responsible for more than 50%, then you won’t receive any compensation. But if you’re at fault for only 49% or less, then your prorated compensation claim will be granted.

Car Accident

Factors in determining comparative negligence

Navigating this gray area of comparative negligence requires careful conduct and consideration. Many factors are analyzed and investigated since the outcome has significant implications for the accident victims. Insurance providers will also be involved to verify the level of involvement of each party responsible.

Here’s an overview of the factors being determined in comparative negligence:

  • Overspeeding. Going beyond the required speed limit is dangerous and can cause accidents. Statistics reveal that overspeeding caused more than 12,000 fatalities in 2021. If a driver was injured by the accident but is proven to be overspeeding, then the court could lean towards seeing this driver to be at fault. (3)
  • Driving under the influence (DUI). Alcohol is known for its adverse effects on the human body, which can affect one’s driving skills, diminishing brain function, critical thinking, and muscle control. Not only is DUI fatal, but it’s an offense to traffic law that can have heavy consequences.
  • Distracted driving. Mobile phone use proves to be one of the most negligent activities that can be committed in car accidents. If one is found to be distracted while driving, a car accident claim will be reduced in relation to the percentage of his fault and the injuries incurred.

These factors are just some of the things being looked at when it comes to comparative negligence in car accident cases. This list isn’t exhaustive as there are broader variables being considered, such as duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages. There’s no one-size-fits-all to car accident claims, and they ultimately depend on how the accident transpired.


Comparative negligence is crucial in determining who’s at fault in a car accident case. This legal system can make or break how accident victims will be granted a claim and how they’ll be able to move forward with their lives.

Knowing the ins and outs of comparative negligence and seeking guidance from car accident lawyers will increase the probability of receiving fair compensation for your losses. At the end of the day, it’s all about honoring your rights and making efforts in heading the right direction after the incident. Use this article as a guide in navigating your situation.


  1. ‘Car Accident Statistics For 2023.’ Source:
  2. ‘Comparative Negligence: Definition, Types, and Examples.’ Source:
  3. ‘Speeding.’ Source:

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