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Comparative Negligence
General Practice
New Jersey is one of a number of states which have adopted a form of the comparative negligence rule. Under the comparative negligence doctrine, a plaintiff may recover if his/her negligence contributed to the damages provided their negligence was not greater than the party or parties against whom recovery is sought (not greater than 50%). However, the damages to which an injured party would be entitled will be diminished by the percentage of negligence attributable to the recovering party. N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.1 et. seq. The purpose of the comparative negligence statute was to eliminate the harsh doctrine of contributory negligence which bars any recovery to a plaintiff if his/her own negligence contributed to the injury regardless of how great or how slight the contributory negligence was. Further, the New Jersey Joint Tortfeasor Act allows a plaintiff to recover the full amount of damages from any joint tortfeasor determined to be 60% or more responsible for the total damages. N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.3(a) In the alternative, any party found to be less than 60% responsible for the total damages is only responsible for the percentage of damages attributable to that party. N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.3(c) In the event a party is required to pay more than his share of the damage award in accordance with the Joint Tortfeasors Act, he/she may seek contribution from the other joint tortfeasors for the excess over his/her pro rata share. N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-3.

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