Understanding Comparative Fault in California Car Accidents
A car accident is never a pleasant experience, but dealing with the legal and financial aftermath of a crash will often just make things worse. As you receive treatment for your injuries, arrange repairs for your vehicle, file police reports, work with your insurance company, and try to get your life back on track after the upheaval the accident has caused, you may also face the difficulty of establishing liability for the accident so you can seek compensation through a personal injury claim.
This process can become even more complicated when multiple parties are at fault for the accident. If you were partially responsible for the crash, you may not be sure about your eligibility for compensation. In these cases, it is important to understand California’s laws about comparative fault.
Negligence and Fault Under California Law
Courts in California use a standard known as “comparative negligence” when deciding how to determine fault when more than one party is responsible for a collision. In these cases, a jury will determine what percentage of fault each party is responsible for, and any damages awarded will be subject to those percentages.
For example, if you were in an accident which happened when someone made an illegal turn in front of your vehicle, but you were also speeding at the time of the crash, a jury may decide that you were 30% at fault, and the other driver was 70% at fault. If your damages from the accident totaled $30,000, the other driver would be responsible for 70% of those damages, or $21,000.
In some states, a plaintiff can only seek damages if their fault is below a certain percentage. However, California is a “pure comparative negligence” state, which means that a plaintiff can seek to recover damages from a defendant regardless of each party’s percentage of fault. Even if a plaintiff is 99% at fault, they can try to recover one percent of their damages from the other party.
Contact a San Jose Car Accident Attorney
When you are injured in a car accident that was fully or partially caused by someone else’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your damages. Attorney Jeffrey D. Janoff can help you understand how California’s comparative negligence laws apply to your situation, ensuring that you will be able to receive the compensation that will address your damages, including medical bills, lost income, and the pain and suffering you have experienced. Contact a San Jose, CA auto accident lawyer at 847-662-3303 to schedule a free consultation.