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Managing Comparative Negligence: A Commonly Used Defense in Pedestrian Accident Cases


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 7,388 pedestrians were killed in 2021. There is no doubt that, when compared to people on vehicles, pedestrians have minimal protection.

To make it worse, it is possible for the pedestrians not to get the compensation they deserve. That’s why it is necessary to hire a pedestrian accident lawyer. They can help secure fair compensation for victims.

One of the most commonly used defenses in a pedestrian accident case is comparative negligence. The following sections discuss more on this topic.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a rule that is used when both parties involved in an accident bear responsibility for the accident. Lawyers talk about this when someone is hurt, and they say that the person walking did something wrong too, making the accident happen. This makes the one being sued less to blame.

In real-life situations, this shared blame idea lets judges give each person a part of the blame based on what they did. This means even if the person walking is a bit to blame, they can still get some money, but less because they had some part in the accident.

Types of Comparative Negligence

It is important to note that comparative negligence laws vary from state to state, with some jurisdictions imposing rules that those who can sue must meet to recover damages. The two main types of comparative negligence are pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence.


·Pure Comparative Negligence

In places, like California, Florida, Denver, and New York, there is still a bit of hope if you are partly to blame for the crash. Think of it like this: if they find you 20% to blame, you can still get 80% of the money owed. Even if you are mostly at fault—say 99%—you can still get a tiny bit of the pay, like 1%.

·Modified Comparative Negligence

Let’s look at modified comparative negligence, which is tougher. Say you are in a place like Colorado or Georgia. You can only get paid for your losses if you are less than half at fault. So, if you’re 49% to blame, you will still get 51% of what’s owed to you. But if you’re more than 50% to blame, then you get no compensation.

Proving Comparative Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

In personal injury cases, the burden initially falls on the plaintiff to prove the defendant’s liability. This involves demonstrating several key points: that the defendant had a duty of care and breached this duty, causing foreseeable harm that resulted in compensable damages. Once these elements are established, the defendant is presumed liable unless they can successfully present a defense.

One such defense is comparative negligence, which can either reduce the defendant’s liability or prevent the plaintiff from recovering damages altogether, particularly in modified comparative fault states where the plaintiff must be less than 50% or 51% at fault.


To prove comparative negligence, defendants must show that the plaintiff had an opportunity to prevent the accident and that they were more careless in protecting themselves than a reasonable person would have been. Determining the percentage of fault attributed to the plaintiff can be challenging. It requires the expertise of experienced attorneys to present compelling evidence for both parties involved.

Final Thoughts

Comparative negligence is undoubtedly the most commonly used term when it comes to pedestrian case defense. However, proving such cases is not as easy as you might have guessed. It requires the services of an experienced attorney. Ensure you get a good lawyer to help you through the process. They can get you the compensation you deserve and accelerate your recovery process.