Comparative Negligence in Third Party Lawsuits

Comparative Negligence is a concern in a third party lawsuit. If you have been seriously injured in a car crash – enough that it substantially impairs your way of life – your auto accident attorney may recommend filing a Third Party Lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In many cases who is to blame for a crash is clear. But sometimes, there is a question of whether the injured motorist is partially responsible for the collision. That’s where comparative negligence comes into play.

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is a legal concept that applies in all types of personal injury or “tort” lawsuits. It comes from the idea that a person should not be able to sue and receive compensation for something that was his or her fault.

The consequences of partial responsibility have changed over time. At first, a you could not sue unless you were 100% guilt-free – an innocent bystander to the event. Then, various states put limits on the amount of fault a person could bear and still recover some damages. Some states still use that model.

Michigan law now uses comparative negligence. Under this theory, how much a person is entitled to recover as damages is reduced based on how much that person is to blame for the accident. The percentage of comparative negligence is decided by a jury after reviewing all the facts in the case.

For example, if the jury decides that a person is entitled to $100,000 in damages, but that person is 25% to blame for the accident, the final award to that person will be reduced by that amount. He or she will only receive $75,000 of the $100,000 in damages suffered.

When does Comparative Negligence Matter?

When it comes to car crashes, comparative negligence only applies to Third Party Litigation. If you are suing your own auto insurance company for benefits under a no-fault policy, that insurer is responsible for all of your medical expenses, wage loss, and attendant care costs, regardless of fault. Even if you were the only driver involved and 100% responsible for what happened, Michigan law ensures that your medical needs are covered.

But in Third Party cases, defense attorneys will often argue comparative negligence as a way to reduce the damages awarded against their clients. They will do everything they can – including hiring accident reconstruction experts – to show that the accident wasn’t entirely the defendant’s fault.

The skilled trial attorneys at Christensen Law know how to make the most of a comparative negligence situation. Using our own experts, evidence, and sometimes even your own testimony, the team will help the jury understand what really happened. They will present your case and make sure you get all the recovery to which you are entitled.


Everyone at Christensen Law was extremely friendly and very easy to work with. Whenever I had a question, they took the time to talk with me and explained everything thoroughly. They were also very quick to return phone calls. I would definitely recommend Christensen Law to anyone in need of a personal injury lawyer.

I suffered Traumatic Brain Injury when struck by a vehicle while walking. My recovery was a long uphill battle; I had little energy to expend on daily routines and even LESS on caring for my home and life. I wondered how I could continue into the future with the difficulties I faced.

I handed the baton off to David and Sarah of Christensen Law. They resolved the unique challenges of my case while buffering me from the opposing side’s onslaught. The case concluded successfully and to my satisfaction with minimal effort on my part.

To ease the burden of the load you carry, make the decision on your legal team today. You’re in the right place – all you have to do now is make the call.

Overall a professional, great team. Everyone knew me and my case. When I left a message, I got a quick reply. Sarah made me feel comfortable going into a courtroom, where I never had been before. Both David and Sarah are very knowledgeable with legal issues. I trusted everyone and am a satisfied client.

V. Watkins

I never knew attorneys could be so accessible and kind. They fought for me all the way to the end. They had to take my case to trial and they won me a great settlement. Now I have a secure future.


HH, Davison

I was treated very nicely and professionally with a lot of consideration and compassion for my disabilities suffered in a horrible car accident. Mr. Christensen and Sarah Stempky made sure I understood what was happening with my case and that everything was pulled together.

LG, Stockbridge

As an accident victim I had to have my leg amputated and I was in bad shape overall. David Christensen was a light in that experience. I ended up with an entire home modification to accommodate my disabilities. It was a very stubborn insurance company but David wouldn’t take no for an answer.

CB, Milford

If I had questions or worries Dave would address them with me because he knows what he is doing. I think the world of him. I felt he went above and beyond to turn a really bad situation around. I have hope now where before I felt powerless and miniscule and that these big insurance companies were just going to railroad me.

DT, Jackson

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