What Is “Modified Comparative Fault?”

Identifying the liable party is one of the first steps in making a personal-injury claim. However, it is often the case that both the plaintiff and the defendant contributed to the injury or loss.

Scratched car paint on rear body caused by accident
Scratched car paint on rear body caused by accident

This is particularly common in car accidents. For example, let’s assume that John changes lanes without signaling, and he does not see Stacy approaching from behind because she is speeding. Stacy then rear-ends John.

In this situation, both John and Stacy contributed to the collision. So who would be liable for damages?

Utah is a “modified comparative fault” state. This is the most common type of negligence policy in the United States. In Utah, a plaintiff can recover compensation if he or she was less than 50 percent responsible for a car wreck. However, if both the plaintiff and defendant were 50 percent responsible, then neither party can recover compensation, pursuant to Title 78B Chapter 5 Part 8 Section 818 of the Utah Code.

In the John and Stacy example, it is likely that the court would find that each party was 50 percent responsible for the crash and, therefore, neither would be entitled to compensation.

Assigning a percentage of fault is a complicated process. If you were injured in a car accident, the amount of compensation you recover will hinge on the strength of your evidence and, if your case goes to trial, how that evidence is presented in court.

This is where an injury attorney can help. Ronald W. Truman is an accident lawyer in Utah who will gather evidence, interview witnesses, calculate your damages and help you claim the highest possible compensation.

Mr. Truman has the highest legal rating offered by Martindale-Hubbell — an AV Preeminent rating. He has been practicing law for more than 25 years. Call 435-986-2222 to schedule a free initial consultation with the Truman Law Firm P.C.

How Are Damages Awarded in a Modified Comparative Fault State?

As previously mentioned, a plaintiff cannot recover compensation if he or she is found to have been at least 50 percent responsible for a car accident. However, let’s assume that a plaintiff was found to have been 35 percent at-fault for the crash.

In such a case, the plaintiff would only be entitled to 65 percent of the final settlement or verdict. For example, if the plaintiff is awarded $100,000 in damages, he or she would only be entitled $65,000.

Important Evidence in a Car Accident Injury Claim

If you were injured by a negligent driver and that driver claims that you were partially responsible for the accident, it is critical that you contact an injury attorney. Without sufficient evidence and a convincing argument to support your claim, you may wind up recovering less compensation or no compensation at all.

Your accident lawyer may use the following evidence to prove negligence and liability:

  • Eyewitness testimonies;
  • Photographs;
  • Illustrations and timelines; and
  • Testimonies from accident reconstruction experts

Your attorney can also arrange testimonies from medical and financial experts to help you prove the value of your damages.

If you were hurt by a drunk, distracted or negligent motorist, contact the Truman Law Firm P.C. Ronald W. Truman is an accident lawyer in Utah who will evaluate your case in a free initial consultation. Call 435-986-2222 to discuss your claim.