California US state flag with statue of lady justice and a gavel on black drapery.

Like humans, car accidents in California can be complicated. While some motor vehicle wrecks are clearly the fault of one person, others come about because of a host of factors and circumstances. When they do, it becomes difficult for those injured to recover compensation for the harm they sustain.

If you have been hurt in a car accident, you or your auto accident lawyer can pursue those responsible for causing the crash for damages. Each person whose careless acts contributed to the wreck would be responsible for paying a share of your damages in proportion to their responsibility. This general rule exists even when you are partly to blame.

California Auto Accident Lawyer Explains Comparative Negligence

Courts and legislators recognize that it is unfair for a negligent person to bear the full financial responsibility for any harm they did not entirely cause. As a result, every state has a way of addressing situations in which an injury victim’s carelessness contributes to their accident.

Whenever two or more individuals commit careless or reckless acts that contribute to a crash, each responsible party is assigned a percentage of fault. This number represents the individual’s liability for causing the accident and the resulting injuries. The percentages in any injury accident case will add up to 100 percent.

Any given state may allow the injury victim to recover compensation from another at-fault party in one of the following three ways:

  • If the victim is not the primary one responsible for the accident, they recover compensation in proportion to the other party’s fault
  • If the victim is less than half responsible for the accident, they recover compensation in proportion to the other party’s fault
  • The victim only recovers compensation if they are not at fault in any way for causing the accident

States that follow the first of these options are known as pure comparative negligence states, and California is one of them.

How Pure Comparative Negligence Works in Car Wrecks

California’s pure comparative negligence law means that no matter how great of a role your actions played in bringing about your car wreck and injuries, you can recover some damages from the other party. The more you are responsible for the accident, the less compensation you would receive from the other party.

For example, suppose that you sustain $10,000 in damages in a car wreck and are determined to be 50 percent responsible for the accident. You could recover up to $5,000 in damages from the other party. However, if you were found to be 90 percent responsible, you could only recover up to $1,000 in damages.

Maximize Your Recovery with a California Auto Accident Lawyer

Following a car wreck for which you are partly responsible, receiving the maximum amount of compensation requires minimizing your culpability for the crash. A skilled auto accident lawyer from Steinberg Injury Lawyers can help you accomplish this. 

Speak with our team immediately following your accident and allow us to help you recover the damages you deserve.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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