Under New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence Act, the jury in certain personal injury lawsuits may evaluate the relative degree of fault of the parties involved in the case, resulting in a reduction of the damages recoverable by the injured plaintiff, rather than a total bar to recovery.
New Jersey’s statutory scheme is commonly referred to as a “modified” comparative fault scheme. This means that, under New Jersey law, an injured plaintiff may not recover if the plaintiff’s own negligence is greater than that of the person our persons against whom recovery is sought. Thus, New Jersey imposes a “50%” qualifier on a plaintiff’s recovery: if the jury determines that the plaintiff is more than 50% responsible for the incident causing the alleged injury, then the plaintiff is precluded from obtaining an award of damages.
In contrast, in a “pure” comparative negligence jurisdiction, such as New York, a plaintiff may recover a portion of the damages sustained even if the plaintiff’s own negligence was greater than that of the person or persons against whom recovery is sought. In such a situation, the damage award is diminished by the percentage of the plaintiff’s negligence, even if that percentage is greater than 50%.
If you have been injured due to another’s negligence, it is important that you consult with an experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer who can analyze the facts of your case, properly assess the relevant legal issues and explain your rights.