Determining liability in some personal injury cases is fairly straightforward. For example, you are sitting at a red light and your car is rear-ended by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol and speeding. That driver is likely to be held fully liable for any injuries you may have sustained. What if, however, your own actions played a role in causing your injuries? For example, you are driving along a city street, over the posted the speed limit while texting on your cell phone. Another driver blatantly runs a red light and crashes into your car. Could you still collect compensation for your injuries?
All or Nothing
Prior to 1975, the answer to that question would have been a flat no. Under the law in place at the time, if your own actions or negligence were found in any way to have contributed to your injuries, recovery would be completely barred. In 1975, the California Supreme Court’s ruling on Li v. Yellow Cab, set a new standard for the state, one that was determined to be more equitable albeit more complex. In its the ruling, the state’s High Court recognized that an “all-or-nothing” approach to recovery was outdated and that each contributor to an injury case should be held justly liable.