This summary of a recent Vermont Supreme Court case will also be posted on the SCOV Law Blog in more or less the same form.
Pcolar v. Casella Waste Systems, Inc., 2012 VT 58
Today’s lesson in modified-comparative negligence comes to us courtesy of a Chittenden County jury verdict and my first-year torts class.
In the Unnamed Partner’s heyday, contributory negligence barred recovery if a Plaintiff had any part in bringing about the harm complained of. As time passed, this was thought too harsh, and so, comparative negligence was born. Strict comparative negligence means that whatever degree of fault the plaintiff contributed to his or her injuries reduces the plaintiff’s recovery proportionately. In a modified-comparative-negligence jurisdiction, like Vermont, the Plaintiff can recover only if the plaintiff was half or less at fault; if the plaintiff was more than half at fault, the plaintiff recovers nothing. There are 49% and 51% rules, and other variations. But that’s all I can remember from my first-year torts class. If you have a close case, you should probably look it up. Getting your legal education from this blawg is like getting your literature from Reader’s Digest: sure, it’s better than nothing, but not much.
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