Arkansas residents might benefit from understanding more about how negligence is often defined in the event of a lawsuit resulting from a car accident. When assessing fault for the ensuing damages, local authorities operate under the theory of contributory negligence or comparative negligence. Currently, most states operate according to the comparative negligence model when assessing fault in a crash. Under the constructs of comparative liability, parties are permitted to file lawsuits against others, even if their own negligence was a contributing factor in causing the crash.
If the plaintiff is found to be partially liable for causing the crash, any restitution for damages they receive would be reduced accordingly. These cases are often referred to as involving an allocation of fault or an appointment of fault. Some states limit an individual's ability to file a lawsuit for a car accident based on the contingency that the plaintiff is less than 50 percent culpable for causing the accident.
In contrast, contributory negligence is typically associated with common law. The only states operating under this legal construct are North Carolina, Maryland, D.C. and Alabama. These laws prohibit anyone from filing a lawsuit for recovering damages if they also contributed to causing the crash. For example, motorists who committed a traffic violation leading up to an accident may not be permitted to sue another party for any ensuing damages. States have either implemented this law in its purest form or in a modified form that requires plaintiffs be less than 50 percent liable for causing the crash.
People who are injured in a car accident caused by another party may benefit from contacting a lawyer. Legal counsel may be prepared to review the facts of the case and help gather enough evidence to identity which of the parties is most culpable for causing the crash and resulting damages.