What Is Comparative Negligence

It’s not always easy to know who is at fault for an accident. When a person claims compensation, the other side may respond with the phrase comparative negligence. What does that mean, and what happens when an accident may be the fault of more than one person? Our Denver personal injury attorneys explain.

What Is Comparative Negligence Under Colorado Law?

Colorado law defines comparative negligence as the failure to do an act that a reasonably careful person would do or not do to protect themselves from bodily injury. A reasonable person has the attention, knowledge, intelligence, and judgment that society requires of its members, according to Reid v. Berkowitz, 315 P.3d 185 (2013)1.

Colorado Jury Instruction for Comparative Negligence

The Colorado jury instruction for comparative negligence is Colorado Pattern Civil Jury Instructions 9:232. It states:

The affirmative defense of the comparative negligence of the plaintiff, (name), is proved if you find all of the following:

1) The plaintiff was negligent; and

2) The negligence of the plaintiff was a cause of the plaintiff’s own claimed (injuries) (damages) (losses).