Where Compassion Meets Experience

Concerns about comparative negligence

Whether they slipped and fell over an object or suffered whiplash in a rear-end car accident, accident victims may feel surprised when they suffer an unexpected injury. Many seek compensation for injuries that they suffered as a result of someone else’s neglect and want to know if they can still file a lawsuit in a California court even when they share responsibility for the injuries.

The partially-at-fault victim

California law adheres to the comparative negligence approach to compensation. That means the person at fault for an accident and resulting injuries can still sue to recover their losses, but their awards face a cap. The cap derives from the percentage that was their fault.

For example, a driver might not come to a complete stop at a stop sign and drive into the intersection slowly. The driver gets hit by another car driven by a drunk driver who went through the stop sign at high speeds. The intoxicated driver operated a vehicle negligently, and such negligence played a role in the crash. However, the other driver committed a moving violation and should not have been in the lane.

So, the drunk driver might be 75% responsible for the crash and suffers $100,000 in losses. Since the other driver was 25% at fault, the intoxicated driver could seek $25,000. That said, the other victim might seek $200,000 in compensation, 75% of which is $150,000.

Examining comparative negligence

The victims with a personal injury claim may have different versions of the events. Evidence could point to who was at fault for any harm inflicted. Witness testimony and smartphone video would be examples of such evidence.

Proof of any level of fault may affect settlement amounts, so it may be critical to present the most substantial evidence possible to support a claim.