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What Is Pure Comparative Negligence in Kentucky Accident Cases?

Lawyer's office, justice scales and books on the desk. What is pure comparative negligence

What is pure comparative negligence? Pure comparative negligence in Kentucky accident cases allows accident victims to seek compensation even if they share fault in causing a crash. However, this system assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved, and a settlement is adjusted accordingly. If a plaintiff is partially responsible for his or her accident, the awarded compensation is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. 


Unlike modified comparative negligence states, Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence system enables recovery regardless of the plaintiff’s degree of fault. This nuanced approach requires a thorough assessment of liability and demands strategic legal representation. Accident victims should seek legal advice promptly to navigate the complexities of their case, gather compelling evidence, and maximize their compensation under the state’s pure comparative negligence framework.

Negligence in Kentucky Accident Cases

Negligence is a critical concept in personal injury law, and understanding its implications is crucial for individuals involved in accidents in Kentucky. When it comes to accidents, particularly car accidents, negligence refers to the failure of one party to exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. In Kentucky, negligence laws play a vital role in determining liability and establishing the basis for personal injury claims.

Burden of Proof in Negligence Claims

In negligence cases, the burden of proof lies with the party bringing the claim. This means the injured party, known as the plaintiff, must demonstrate that the other party, the defendant, was negligent and that this negligence directly led to the injuries sustained. Proving negligence typically involves establishing four key elements:


Duty of Care: The plaintiff must show that the defendant owed him or her a duty of care. For example, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws.


Breach of Duty: The plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant breached his or her duty of care. In a car accident case, this could involve showing that the defendant was speeding, ran a red light, or engaged in other top causes of accident cases in Kentucky.


Causation: There must be a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions were a substantial factor in causing the harm.


Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must show that he or she suffered actual damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering, caused directly by the injury or accident.

Implications of Pure Comparative Negligence for Accident Victims

The application of pure comparative negligence has implications for accident victims in Kentucky. Unlike some other states that follow modified comparative negligence rules, which bar recovery if the plaintiff is deemed more than 50% or 51% at fault, Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence system allows plaintiffs to recover damages regardless of their degree of fault.


However, a victim’s compensation will be directly proportionate to his or her share of responsibility. This makes it crucial to establish a clear and accurate assessment of fault in personal injury cases.

Damages in Personal Injury Cases in Kentucky

When negligence is proven, the injured party may be entitled to various damages.  In pursuing a claim, Kentucky accident victims can seek compensation for both the measurable financial burdens and the less tangible, yet profound personal losses they endure. These can include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover tangible losses, while non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate for intangible losses.


Economic Damages: In accident cases, economic damages play a pivotal role in compensating victims for financial losses. Economic damages encompass medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages resulting from the accident. Accident victims are entitled to recover the actual costs incurred, including hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, vehicle repair or replacement costs, and income lost due to inability to work. These quantifiable financial losses are meticulously calculated and presented in legal claims to ensure that individuals affected by accidents in Kentucky receive fair compensation for the economic hardships they endure as a direct result of the incident.


Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages are vital components of compensation, addressing other losses suffered by victims. These damages encompass pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and the diminished quality of life resulting from the accident. Unlike economic damages, which are easily quantifiable, non-economic damages aim to acknowledge the emotional and psychological toll of injuries. Determining the value of non-economic damages requires an evaluation of the impact on the victim’s well-being.


In cases where the negligence is clear, recovering damages may seem straightforward. However, when negligence is shared between the parties involved, the concept of pure comparative negligence becomes particularly relevant.

How Pure Comparative Negligence Is Applied in Kentucky Accident Cases

Kentucky follows the principle of pure comparative negligence when determining liability in personal injury cases. Pure comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that allows for the assignment of a percentage of fault to each party involved in an accident. This means, even if the injured party is partially responsible for the accident, he or she can still seek compensation for their damages.


In a pure comparative negligence system, the amount of compensation a plaintiff receives is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is found 20% responsible for a car accident and the total damages amount to $100,000, the plaintiff would be entitled to receive $80,000 (i.e., $100,000 – 20%).

How to Navigate Pure Comparative Negligence in Kentucky Accident Cases

Successfully navigating pure comparative negligence in Kentucky accident cases hinges on the victim taking the right steps. This is more easily accomplished with the help of an experienced car accident lawyer. He or she can guide victims through settlement negotiations, and, if necessary, represent a case in court. Considering mediation for dispute resolution can also be valuable. With informed guidance, victims can navigate the complexities and pursue fair compensation under Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence system.

Steps Involved in Pursuing a Claim Under Pure Comparative Negligence

Gather Evidence

In Kentucky accident cases, assembling compelling evidence is crucial to fortify your legal position. This process entails acquiring key elements to substantiate your claim, such as securing accident reports, gathering witness statements, capturing photographs of the accident scene, and obtaining pertinent medical records. Accident reports provide an official account of the incident, witness statements corroborate your narrative, scene photographs offer visual context, and medical records establish the extent of injuries. Thoroughly collecting and organizing this evidence not only strengthens your case, but also provides a solid foundation for negotiating fair compensation or presenting a compelling argument in litigation.

Determine Fault

Establishing fault is crucial in a pure comparative negligence system. Your attorney will use the evidence gathered when demonstrating the other party’s negligence while minimizing your share of responsibility.

Calculate Damages

Accurately assessing the damages you’ve suffered is essential for determining the compensation you may be able to recover. Economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, can be relatively straightforward, but non-economic damages require careful consideration and documentation. In any case, using the available evidence and working with an accident lawyer are crucial factors in accurately calculating damages.

File a Lawsuit

If a fair car accident settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your attorney may file a lawsuit on your behalf. The legal process will then proceed through discovery, negotiation, and trial. Settlement negotiations may persist up until a verdict is reached by a judge or jury. 


Navigating a personal injury claim under a pure comparative negligence system can be complex, and seeking legal advice is highly advisable. A qualified personal injury attorney with expertise in Kentucky negligence laws can help assess the strength of your case, guide you through the legal process, and work to maximize your compensation.

Tips for Negotiating Settlements in Comparative Negligence Cases

Not all accident cases need to proceed to trial. In some cases, victims and liable parties can reach a mutually agreed-upon solution long before trial becomes necessary. This not only helps to reduce the expense of taking legal action, but also helps to minimize the amount of time spent waiting on a settlement.


When negotiating a settlement, victims can take the following steps to increase their chances of a favorable outcome: 


  1. Document Your Injuries: Thoroughly document your injuries and the impact they have on your daily life. This documentation strengthens your case and helps justify the compensation you’re seeking.
  2. Stay Cautious With Statements: Be cautious about making statements that could be interpreted as admitting fault. Insurance companies may use such statements to minimize their liability.
  3. Be Prepared for Comparative Negligence Arguments: Anticipate arguments from the other party or the insurance company attempting to shift more blame onto you. Your attorney can help counter these arguments with solid evidence and legal arguments.


Understanding the nuances of pure comparative negligence is essential for anyone involved in a personal injury case in Kentucky. Knowing how this legal doctrine operates, the implications it has on compensation, and the steps to navigate the legal process will empower accident victims to make informed decisions and pursue fair compensation for their injuries.

Jay A. Bolotin is a partner at the injury law firm of Young, Reverman & Bolotin. Serving the people of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, Jay dedicates his career to helping clients in the tri-state area obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries. He focuses his practice on cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites and animal attacks, and other types of personal injury incidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Cincinati Bar Association