Understanding Comparative Negligence in California

Our Santa Rosa Car Accident Attorney Helps Crash Survivors in Northern California

California is a pure comparative negligence state. Since comparative negligence laws can determine how much compensation you may receive for your injuries after a car accident, it is important that you understand comparative negligence in California.

What Is Pure Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is a rule that determines each party’s fault in an accident. In general, California recognizes shared liability among parties until proven otherwise.

This means you may be entitled to collect damages in an accident even if you were partially at-fault for the accident. In California, if the injured party is found 99 percent responsible for an accident, he or she may still be entitled to recover compensation. However, his or her compensation would be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

Example of Comparative Negligence in California

Below, our Santa Rosa auto accident attorney outlines an example of how comparative negligence in California can affect compensation after an accident:

Assume a jury determines you are 45 percent responsible for an auto accident. If the jury’s award was $100,000 for your injuries and damages, your award would be 55 percent of $100,000, or $55,000.

What Is Negligent Driving?

Negligence is usually present when a driver acts in a manner which is significantly different from what another reasonable driver would have done. Generally, there are two types of negligent driving:

  • The driver acted in a way that he or she should not acted
  • The driver failed to do something he or she should have done

For example, speeding or running a red light could be considered negligence, because they are two acts the driver should not have done. Failing to yield could also be negligent behavior, because it is something the driver should have done.

Understanding Duty of Care in a Car Accident

To recover damages in a personal injury case in the state of California, you must prove three things:

  • The defendant in the case owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
  • The defendant breached that duty of care through negligence or carelessness, and
  • The negligence or carelessness was a significant factor in the resulting harm.

Our Santa Rosa Personal Injury Lawyer Can Explain Comparative Negligence

Pure comparative negligence can work for or against your case depending on your fault percentage. If you have been involved in a California car accident, it is important to speak with a Santa Rosa car accident lawyer.

At Flahavan Law Offices, our Santa Rosa auto accident attorney can explain how comparative negligence in California may affect your claim. This may give you an idea about what damages you can recover.

Call Flahavan Law Offices at (707) 414-0119 or fill out our confidential contact form to learn about your legal options. We can help you during this difficult time. We represent accident victims in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Lake County, Mendocino County, Windsor, Sonoma, Sebastopol, Cotati, Petaluma and Rohnert Park.