How California’s Comparative Fault Law Can Affect Your Auto Accident Claim

Under the State of California’s pure comparative fault law, a person injured in an auto accident can still recover compensation even if he or she was discovered to be partially at fault for the accident.

Comparative fault, also sometimes referred to as comparative negligence, will allow an injured person to obtain a portion of the injuries covered by the other party, even if the person is partially responsible for his or her own injury.

When an auto accident lawsuit goes to trial, a jury will decide to what extent the victim’s own negligence contributed to his or her injuries. If the victim was found to be partially blamable for his or her own damage, the compensation amount will be reduced by the percentage found at fault.

How the Level of Liability is Decided in an Auto Accident Lawsuit

A judge or jury usually decides the level of responsibility in an auto accident case. Upon trial, a jury will be given instruction on the comparative fault of the victim. Jury instructions on comparative negligence are as follows:

The defendant believes that the victim’s own carelessness has been instrumental in causing his or her injury. To prosper in this accusation, the defendant will need to demonstrate the following: 

  1. The victim was negligent
  2. The victim’s negligence was a significant factor in causing his or her injury 

If the defendant demonstrates the above, the victim’s damages will be reduced by the jury’s determination of under what percent the victim held responsibility. 

If applicable, the jury will proceed to make a separate verdict on the victim’s total damages. The jury will decide the total sum of damages deprived of consideration of the extent of liability it assigns to the victim.

Auto Accident Cases and the Comparative Fault Law

Auto accidents in California will often involve cases of comparative fault because many of these claims will be comprised of multiple parties. Every party involved has the potential to share the responsibility of the auto accident.

Auto accidents that implicate multiple parties, it is likely that every party will place blame on another for causing the accident. Non-driver defendants in California can also be blamed in the auto accident. This can include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Vehicle part manufacturers,
  • Construction zones or crews,
  • City road developers or engineers, and
  • Pedestrians or bicyclists 

Seek the Legal Advice of a Specialized Attorney

If you have been recently involved in an auto accident and believe you may have been partly at-fault for the accident, you can still recover compensation for your injuries. Speak to a knowledgeable attorney who can champion on your behalf and represent your interests in a court of law.

Attorney Justin H. King is specialized in the field of personal injury cases involving auto accident lawsuits. Attorney King has many years of experience in the field and is prepared to vigorously champion for the rights of personal injury victims. Auto accident lawsuits in California are subject to time limits; consult a professional California lawyer straightaway.