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How does comparative fault change accident compensation?

Comparative negligence is the legal concept recognizing the complexity of fault in any accident. A car crash is rarely one person’s total fault. Often both parties contributed to the crash and the injuries. Comparative negligence laws allow for people who are in that situation to pursue – and collect – compensation.

How does comparative fault work in Colorado?

Colorado uses what is knowns as a “modified comparative negligence” law. In pure comparative negligence, any party injured in an accident can pursue compensation if partly at fault.

For example, if an accident was 70% “party A’s” fault and 30% “party B’s” fault, both could pursue compensation. Party A would have, whatever the final settlement or verdict is, reduced by 70%, and Party B’s compensation would then have a 30% reduction.

Modified comparative negligence only allows a person to pursue compensation if they are not more at fault than the other party. In action, if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, you cannot file a lawsuit.

How does fault get calculated?

We have written before about the steps to take after an accident. One of those steps was acquiring proof. That proof – police reports, pictures of the accident, witnesses – builds the basis for which party is at fault. Sometimes fault is clear. Sometimes it isn’t. This is a complicated area of the law. If your recovery and ability to pay your bills hang in the balance, skilled, aggressive representation can make a big difference here.

You still have options

If you’ve been offered an insurance settlement you feel you must take because of the circumstances of the accident, take a step back. Ask yourself: “Was it really all my fault?” Because if it wasn’t, you have options.


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