Not all accidents have only one driver at fault. Many times, both drivers acted negligently, and when that happens, the question arises can the victim still get compensation? An example is two cars collide, one was speeding while the other was texting. If the driver who was texting was injured can he get compensation for his injuries?
California is a comparative fault state meaning that a jury can assign fault of an accident to more than one driver. Then each person has to pay their percentage of the injuries. In the example above, if the person texting was 30 percent at fault and the speeding driver was 70 percent at fault, then the injured texting driver will still get 70 percent of their injuries compensated—up to the limit of the insurance policy.
Modified v. Pure Comparative Fault
There are several ways to apply comparative fault. One way, called modified comparative fault, if one party is over 50 percent fault, he or she can’t get any compensation even though the other party was partially negligent.
This comes up when the injured party is more than 50 percent at fault, and in a modified comparative fault state, this person would get nothing. Applying this to our earlier example, let’s say that the texting driver was 60 percent negligent and was injured while the speeding driver was 40 percent at fault but wasn’t injured.
Since the injured driver was 60 percent at fault, then he or she would get nothing.
However, if the accident happened in Hanford, California, the outcome would be different. California uses a pure comparative fault system where the injured person can collect whatever percentage of his or her damages that were allocated to the other driver.
In this system, the texting driver would get 40 percent of their injuries paid. This is because the law doesn’t require the injured person to be at less fault than the other driver. This works despite the percentages. So it the texting driver was 90 percent at fault, then he or she would get 10 percent of the injuries compensated.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer.
After an accident involving a serious injury in the Central Valley, contact attorney Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice and personalized attention to detail their case deserves.