Who is at fault for causing a car accident can be a complicated thing to determine. Liability is not always clear-cut and, oftentimes, it is not just one person’s actions that contributed to causing an accident. Every state has different rules for what happens when multiple people are found to be at fault for causing an accident. California follows the comparative negligence approach to these types of situations.
Under California’s comparative negligence law, you can still recover monetary compensation for an accident you are found to be partially at fault in causing. More specifically, California follows the pure comparative negligence standard. This means that, unlike in some other states, you can be a significant contributing factor in causing an accident and still recover compensation. In fact, you can be 99 percent responsible for causing an accident and you may still be compensated for your losses. Some states prohibit recovering compensation if you are found to be greater than 50 percent at fault in causing the accident.
While you may still recover compensation even if you are partially at fault for causing an accident, know that your compensation award will be reduced by your percentage of the fault. This means that if you receive a total award of $100,000 for an accident, but you are found to be 70 percent at fault, you will only receive $30,000 in compensation.
Partial fault accidents are legally complicated. Determining who is at fault is a fact-intensive analysis that requires a great attention to detail in presenting the circumstances of the accident. The other party involved in the personal injury case or their insurance company will most definitely fight to either pin the blame for the accident completely on you or make sure it seems that their actions played a very small role in causing the accident. Do not let the other party try to get out of being held responsible for your injuries. If their negligence was a direct cause of your injuries, you deserve to be compensated by them. To help present your case in the best possible way:
- Gather evidence: Take pictures at the scene. Get copies of any accident or incident reports generated. Talk to any witnesses to the accident and keep their contact information. Additionally, keep track of relevant medical records.
- Seek immediate medical attention: Get medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible. Medical records documenting your injuries will be integral to presenting your personal injury cases. Insurance companies will not just take your word for it about your injuries and how extensive they may be. They need medical documentation.
- Contact a personal injury attorney: At-fault parties and their insurance companies will use all of their means and resources to try and fight liability. Having a skilled personal injury attorney by your side can help even the playing field. An attorney who specializes in personal injury cases will know how to navigate the complex legal issues and have the attention to detail necessary to present your case in the most effective way possible.
Even if you think you might have been a contributing factor in causing an accident that resulted in you being injured, contact our personal injury attorneys today. You may still have a right to a financial recovery for your injuries and losses.