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What is comparative fault, and how does it affect my construction site injury case?

Most states have adopted some form of “Comparative Fault”.  The jury reviews the conduct of all parties to the lawsuit to determine what proportion of fault each must bear for the injury.

The jury might believe the plaintiff (you) was partially at fault for causing his own injuries and assign him a percentage of the fault. For example, the jury may find you were 20% at fault and the defendant 80% at fault. You would receive a settlement of 80% of whatever the jury determines to be the total value of the damages. (In some jurisdictions, if the plaintiff is assigned more than 50% of fault, then there can be no recovery at all.)

For this reason, it is very important to know what the law is in the jurisdiction where the lawsuit is to be filed. Sometimes a lawsuit can be filed in one of several different places, and it’s crucial for the lawyer to be well-versed in construction site law in each of those places. That way, the lawsuit can be filed in the state which is most beneficial to the injured worker.

Jim Keller
Partner at Keller & Keller

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