DEFINITION of 'Comparative Negligence'

A principle of tort law that applies to casualty insurance in certain states. Comparative negligence states that when an accident occurs, the fault/negligence of each party involved is based upon their respective contributions to the accident. This allows insurers to assign blame and pay claims accordingly.

BREAKING DOWN 'Comparative Negligence'

Comparative negligence is most commonly used to assign blame in auto accidents. If two drivers both break the same traffic laws in an accident, then both may be denied their claims. Many carriers assign blame between drivers on a percentage basis, such as 70/30.

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