Contributory and comparative negligence apply to a court's determination of fault in civil claims when a plaintiff shares responsibility for his or her injuries. Claims Journal outlined the difference between the two in an article published last year. West Virginia is among a majority of states that follow modified comparative negligence rules.
Less than a handful of states have contributory negligence statutes, which prevent plaintiffs with any percentage of fault from collecting compensation. In West Virginia, liability laws contain a 50 percent bar rule that permits damage awards when the plaintiff's percentage of blame falls below 50 percent.
A Marshall University student died in a March after a car accident in Mason County. The 21-year-old Point Pleasant woman was fatally injured in Gallipolis Ferry while trying to turn on West Virginia Route 2 from a store parking lot. The victim's parents said their daughter's vehicle was struck by a truck she couldn't see, because vehicles parked near the road impaired the driver's vision.
Authorities cited the victim for failure to yield. No determination has been made to blame the parked vehicles' owners or drivers for the fatal crash. State law restricts parking and stopping on highways in places where other motorists are endangered.
The victim's parents said they want the public to know West Virginia Route 2 is a busy, dangerous road. The student's loved ones are hoping to shine a light on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy so others don't become accident victims for the same reason. Reports said the family members think the fatality could have been avoided but did not say whether the parents planned to take legal action.
Liability attorneys assess whether accident claims are viable when some of the fault for an accident rests with the injured party. A complaint must be worth the plaintiff's effort before it is filed; otherwise, the pursuit of compensation is counterproductive.
Source: MyDailyRegister.com, "Parents speak out on daughter's fatal accident" Beth Sergent, Apr. 25, 2014