Under Colorado law a Defendant is only liable for the percentage of fault attributed to him or her. For example, if Defendant Smith rear ends Plaintiff Jones, but the jury determines that he was only 80% at fault because Plaintiff Jones braked suddenly and is thus 20% at fault then he is only responsible for paying 80% of Plaintiff Jones’ damages award. If there is more than one Defendant then the same rule applies and it is up to the jury to allocate the percentage of fault amongst the parties.
The upside is that a Plaintiff who is contributory negligent is not barred from recovery if his or her negligence was not as great as the negligence of the person against whom the recovery is sought. However, it’s important to know that Colorado is a 50/50 state, which means that if the jury determines the Plaintiff was 50% or more responsible he or she is entitled to nothing and judgment is entered for the Defendant.
For more information regarding comparative negligence in Colorado, see C.R.S. 13-21-111.
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