Being injured in an accident in California can be devastating. When the accident resulted from the negligence of someone else, the victim is entitled to pursue compensation by filing a personal injury claim. However, some accidents are caused by a combination of factors, and both the injured victim and the other involved party might share responsibility for causing the accident. In this type of situation, the injured victim can still file a lawsuit to recover damages under California’s comparative negligence law.
What is comparative fault?
California follows a pure comparative fault standard in personal injury cases. This rule is found in Cal. Civ. Code § 1714. Under this law, each at-fault party is responsible for his or her degree of fault. If you are partially at fault for causing your accident, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of responsibility you had in causing it. For example, if you were 40% at fault and were awarded $100,000, your damages award would be reduced by 40% for a net verdict of $60,000.
What is pure comparative fault?
Some states follow modified comparative fault rules that prevent plaintiffs from recovering damages when they are equally to blame for an accident’s cause or when their percentage of fault is greater than that of the defendants. However, California follows a pure comparative fault rule. This means that plaintiffs can recover compensation even if they were primarily responsible for causing their accidents. Their damages will still be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them, however.
People who have suffered a personal injury in accidents and believe that they were partially at fault will not be prevented from recovering damages. In some cases, a victim who believes he or she was at fault might learn from an investigation that some other factor instead was the primary contributing factor.