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What Is Comparative Negligence in California?

What Is Comparative Negligence in California?

Sometimes accidents occur, and the victim is partially at fault. When that victim pursues compensation for their injuries, the party who is allegedly at fault will assert that the victim was a partial cause of the accident and his or her own injuries and damages. Such allegations are often seen in intersection accidents, slip-and-falls and trip-and-falls, bicycle and pedestrian accidents. If a settlement isn’t reached, a jury will determine what percentage of fault, if any, is attributable to the victim pursuant to California Civil Jury Instruction 405. That percentage of fault is then deducted from the victim’s award. For example, if a victim is determined by a jury to have been 20% at fault for an accident, a $100,000 award would be reduced to $80,000 based on 20% negligence. That’s what’s known as the law of comparative negligence. California is a state that recognizes the law of comparative negligence as opposed to contributory negligence. 

If you or a loved one needs assistance with California’s comparative negligence law, contact us today for a free consultation and we will explain your rights to you.

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Modified vs. Pure Comparative Negligence

Some states are modified comparative negligence states, while others are pure comparative negligence states. In some states, if a victim is found to be 50% negligent in an accident, he or she is barred from receiving any compensation at all. In other modified comparative negligence states, that percentage is 51%. California is known as a pure comparative negligence state. In pure comparative negligence states, accident victims are allowed to recover damages even if they were 99% at fault for an accident.

Comparative Negligence Involving Accidents with Two or More At-Fault Parties

There are times when three or more parties are at fault in an accident. The same fault apportionment rules are used in these cases. A jury can determine the percentage of fault attributable to each party pursuant to California Civil Jury Instruction 406.

Don’t Give a Statement of Any Kind

One or more opposing insurance companies will be trying to reduce their financial exposure with comparative negligence allegations against you. Don’t give them statements of any kind. California law doesn’t require you to do that, and it’s likely that your own words will only be used against you in the future. Don’t allow an insurance company to try to threaten or intimidate you into giving a statement either. Contact us at Maison Law instead for a free confidential consultation and case review.

Contact a California Comparative Negligence Lawyer Today

The fact that you are alleged to be comparatively negligent gives more reason to retain a knowledgeable and skilled personal injury lawyer to represent you immediately after an accident. When allegations of comparative negligence are made, our objective is to maximize the compensation that you deserve by diminishing any percentage of fault that might be attributable to you. Preserve and protect your right to the highest amount of compensation available to you by contacting a California personal injury lawyer at Maison Law right away after being injured in any accident.

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