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Understanding Comparative Negligence

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Comparative negligence is the legal practice of assigning a percent of blame for an accident and allowing a person to sue for that portion of the damages. This doctrine is used throughout the majority of American jurisdictions. Comparative negligence includes the following forms:

Pure comparative negligence
  • The basic form of comparative negligence, in which an individual's recovery is reduced by the percentage of his or her own negligence
Modified comparative negligence
  • By which the plaintiff can only sue if deemed to hold less than half of the blame for the incident
Modified comparative negligence
  • Under which a plaintiff may only sue if found to be less than 51 percent responsible

Wisconsin works under the premise that a plaintiff’s fault cannot be greater than the defendant’s. This means that a plaintiff can hold half of the fault, but any amount greater than 51 percent will prohibit them from filing a claim.