Comparative Negligence and Jury Behavior,
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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The comparative negligence doctrine is a rule in our system of civil justice which allows partial compensation of plaintiffs who are partly at fault for their own injuries. Forty-one states have a comparative negligence law today, while remaining nine operate under an older law called contributory negligence or contrib, which denies plaintiffs such partial compensation. Many of the states with the new law have just recently switched, and some of the nine are currently considering a change. By analyzing jury decisions in San Francisco under both the old and the new law, this study measures the effects of comparative negligence law on plaintiffs awards. The law of comparative negligence instructs jurors on the apportionment of damage awards when the plaintiff is partially at fault. The comparative law asks the jury to divide damages between the plaintiff and negligent defendants according to relative fault. Thus, a plaintiff 50 percent responsible for his own injuries receives half of his total damages, and one 10 percent responsible receives 90 percent. Additional keywords Tablesdata Charts.
- Sociology and Law