[PART IV.]  COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE

Terms Used In Hawaii Revised Statutes 663-31

  • common law: The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
  • damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
  • trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • verdict: The decision of a petit jury or a judge.

 

Law Journals and Reviews

 

  Tort and Insurance “Reform” in a Common Law Court.  14 UH L. Rev. 55 (1992).

 

      663-31  Contributory negligence no bar; comparative negligence; findings of fact and special verdicts.  (a)  Contributory negligence shall not bar recovery in any action by any person or the person’s legal representative to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or in injury to person or property, if such negligence was not greater than the negligence of the person or in the case of more than one person, the aggregate negligence of such persons against whom recovery is sought, but any damages allowed shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person for whose injury, damage or death recovery is made.

     (b)  In any action to which subsection (a) of this section applies, the court, in a nonjury trial, shall make findings of fact or, in a jury trial, the jury shall return a special verdict which shall state:

     (1)  The amount of the damages which would have been recoverable if there had been no contributory negligence; and

     (2)  The degree of negligence of each party, expressed as a percentage.

     (c)  Upon the making of the findings of fact or the return of a special verdict, as is contemplated by subsection (b) above, the court shall reduce the amount of the award in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person for whose injury, damage or death recovery is made; provided that if the said proportion is greater than the negligence of the person or in the case of more than one person, the aggregate negligence of such persons against whom recovery is sought, the court will enter a judgment for the defendant.

     (d)  The court shall instruct the jury regarding the law of comparative negligence where appropriate.