What Is California’s Comparative Negligence Law?

Filing a personal injury lawsuit in California can be overwhelming. How do you know what your personal injury case is worth and how much you’ll be able to recoup for your financial losses? The answer to those questions depends on California’s comparative negligence laws.

At Sam & Ash Injury Law, our attorneys want to help you understand your legal rights after a serious personal injury accident and how California’s civil laws apply to your claim. Part of the process means understanding how California’s comparative negligence laws may affect your case.

Have you been injured in an accident caused by a careless individual? You deserve a dedicated legal team working on your behalf to seek the full compensation available. Our down-to-earth attorneys will explain the legal process and evaluate how your specific circumstances affect your claim. Contact our California law office today for a free consultation.

Comparative Negligence in California

In car and other accidents, sometimes more than one person shares responsibility for an accident.

Under California’s comparative negligence guidelines, a person’s share of fault for an accident affects the compensation they may be eligible to recover for their financial losses. California is one of ten states that use a pure comparative fault model to award compensation.

How Does Comparative Negligence Work?

When a personal injury case goes to court in California, a judge or jury assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved in the accident based on examining the evidence. Therefore, the compensation a person may recover is tied to their portion of the blame for causing the accident.

For example, if a court determines that the total losses in a serious car accident are $100,000 and that the injured person was 25 percent at fault, that injured person would be eligible to receive $75,000 in compensation under California’s comparative negligence system.

Comparative negligence rules in California are only binding on court decisions. However, the rules also influence insurance adjusters, who use the rules as a guide when evaluating personal injury claims.

If you have been injured in an accident and were partly at fault, and someone else also was at fault, you may be entitled to demand compensation. You should have a knowledgeable attorney at Sam & Ash Injury Law review the specific details of your injury accident and help you understand how California’s comparative fault system applies to your case.

Pure Comparative Negligence Law in California

California follows a pure comparative negligence rule, meaning the amount of compensation a person is entitled to receive diminishes by their percentage of fault for causing an accident.

Even if you are primarily at fault, you may still have a right to file a lawsuit and pursue some compensation from another at-fault party.

Comparative negligence regulations come in two forms: pure comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence.

In states that follow a modified comparative negligence system, anyone whose fault meets or exceeds a certain threshold — usually either 50 or 51 percent — is prevented from recovering compensation in civil court. But that is not the case in California. You can still sue and pursue damages even if you were primarily at fault.

Comparative vs. Contributory Negligence in California

Apart from comparative negligence, the other common way that states apportion fault is with the contributory negligence model, commonly considered the harsher of the two models.

Only a handful of states still use the contributory negligence doctrine. It dictates that someone who in any way contributes to their injuries cannot recover compensation for them.

For example, suppose a car accident victim is even one percent responsible for contributing to the cause of the crash. In that case, the crash victim is not eligible to recover compensation for their injuries in those states that use a contributory negligence system.

Examples of Cases Involving Pure Comparative Negligence

The pure comparative negligence model governs California personal injury lawsuits. Some cases that involve pure comparative negligence can include the following:

If you are involved in an accident caused by a careless individual, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your financial losses, even if you are partly at fault in California. The degree of fault you are assigned will diminish any compensation you are awarded proportionately under the comparative negligence system.

An experienced California personal injury attorney can assess the value of your claim and build a compelling case that offers you the best chance of pursuing the maximum compensation possible.

Talk to a Seasoned Attorney if You Need Help With Your Injury Case in California

California’s comparative fault rules can be confusing. A seasoned personal injury attorney at Sam & Ash Injury Law can guide you through the process of evaluating your legal options and helping you understand your rights to pursue compensation. The determination of fault affects the amount of compensation you may be eligible to receive if your personal injury case goes to court. It can also influence how an insurance adjuster values your insurance claim in settlement negotiations. To have the best chance of pursuing full compensation for your losses, you need an attorney with comprehensive knowledge of California’s pure comparative negligence system.

You deserve What’s Right: full compensation for the harm you suffered due to someone else’s negligence. Demand the money you need by getting an experienced California personal injury attorney on your side now. Contact the California office of Sam & Ash Injury Law today for a free case review. We want to work for you.

Author: Sam Mirejovsky

For more than 20 years, Sam Mirejovsky has been helping people who have been hurt due to negligence and wrongdoing. Bringing a client-centered approach to every case, Sam believes that getting the care you need and the justice you deserve is only achieved when you take the time to understand your client and their personal circumstances. This mindset has helped him change the landscape of personal injury law and recover millions of dollars for injured people and their families.