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What if I Was Partially at Fault?


In personal injury cases, especially car accident cases, it is not always easy to know who was at fault for the accident. In fact, it is not uncommon for both parties to share some degree of fault.


In the United States, there are three types of comparative fault systems used in the legal system:

  1. Pure Contributory Negligence: Under this system, a party cannot recover damages for injuries if that party shares any fault no matter the degree. Even if the party is 1% at fault, he or she cannot recover for injuries.

  2. Modified Comparative Fault: Under this system, a party cannot recover damages for injuries if the party is more than 51% at fault. In other words, the highest degree of fault the party seeking damages can be deemed to hold is 51%.

  3. Pure Comparative Fault: Under this system, both parties can claim damages regardless of their degree of fault. However, the amount of recovery will be reduced by the respective parties' degree of fault.

Each state adopts one of these three comparative fault systems. Rhode Island is one of the 13 states that utilizes the Pure Comparative Fault system. This means, if you are injured by the fault of someone else, you can recover damages from that party even if you were partially at fault too. For example, if you were 60% at fault for your injury, you can still recover 40% of damages from the other party (or parties) at fault for your injuries.