The comparative negligence rule in California plays a crucial role when seeking personal injury compensation. The defendant’s insurance company may argue that the injured victim is to blame (at least partially) for the underlying accident. And if you happen to share any liability, it may affect your compensation amount.
Therefore determining fault and liability is vital to decide who will pay for the damages or injuries after an accident. And accident victims should discuss their legal options with an attorney as quickly as possible after the accident. Have you been injured in an accident in California? Competent personal injury attorneys at the Yerushalmi Law Firm will aggressively fight to ensure you do not get sued for an accident you didn’t cause.
Comparative Negligence Rule In California
Under a comparative negligence system, the defendant claims that the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to his injury. The defendant has the burden to prove that the plaintiff was negligent and his negligence was a substantial factor in causing the accident. If he succeeds in proving it, the plaintiff’s damages decrease by the percentage of his fault in the accident.
The laws governing comparative negligence vary from state to state. In California, even if the plaintiff was partially to blame for the accident, he can still seek compensation from the negligent party. However, the sum of the victim’s compensation gets reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s negligence. For example, a plaintiff who is found 20 percent at fault for causing the accident will only be eligible to receive 80 percent of the damages.
If more than two parties are at fault for an injury, a jury can apportion liability between the involved parties, including the plaintiff and defendants.
Common Factors Affecting Claim Under Comparative Negligence
A list of common reasons that can lead to an accident and be used in a comparative negligence case is as follows:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Unsafe lane changing
- Failure to wear a safety belt
- Riding a motorcycle or bicycle without wearing a helmet
- Running a red traffic light
- Ignoring pedestrian traffic light
Insurance companies are notorious for abusing the comparative negligence rule for their benefit and reduce your claim value. If you’ve been in an accident and aren’t sure, who is at fault, speak to our skilled personal injury lawyers at the Yerushalmi Law Firm. Call us for a free consultation at (310) 777-7717