Contributory Negligence

Coming to Terms with Comparative Negligence in California

Spread the love

Let’s say you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault. You want the responsible party to be held accountable and make sure your injuries, bills, and damages are paid for. Now let’s say you were in an accident that was partially your fault. Now, you can’t receive compensation, right? Wrong.

You’ve likely been told that you’re just out of luck if you had any responsibility for your accident. While it’s true that your chances of filing a successful claim for compensation are reduced if the accident was partially your fault, you aren’t automatically out.

That’s thanks to a concept called comparative negligence.

The Basics

In California law, comparative negligence holds that you can receive compensation if you are injured in an accident that was partially your fault. However, your compensation will be reduced.

You will be assigned a percentage of fault, and that percentage will be subtracted from the compensation you’re awarded. Your degree of fault is determined once the facts of your case have been presented.

California Comparative Negligence Example

To better explain how comparative negligence works in California, here’s an example. You and your car accident attorney present information to a jury and the jurors determine that you are 40 percent responsible for the accident.

Then, your claim is successful and has a value of $100,000. You would receive 40 percent less—$60,000.

When You’re Mostly at Fault

Some states hold that you cannot receive compensation if you’re found to hold more than 50 percent of the blame for the accident that injured you. In California, the rule is a little different.

You can still receive compensation even if you are 99 percent at fault for the accident and the other party is 1 percent at fault. What it all comes down to is what the court decides and how much compensation you may be eligible for.

Compensation may include the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages or earning potential
  • Non-economic damages
  • Any other applicable damages

To understand comparative negligence and what it means for your case, contact a personal injury attorney.