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What is pure comparative negligence in California?

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2024 | Serious Injuries |

Pure comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that plays a crucial role in personal injury claims in California. It’s a system used to determine liability and award damages in cases where multiple parties share fault for an accident.

Understanding how pure comparative negligence works is essential for anyone involved in a personal injury claim in California because it can directly affect the compensation that they may be eligible to receive.

Allocating fault and determining damages

Under this system, the plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident. This means that even if a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for their injuries, they can still recover damages. The amount they receive will be proportionally reduced based on their level of responsibility. This means it’s vital to include all damages so they have the best chance of recovery.

The jury or judge will determine the percentage of fault each involved party holds. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 30% at fault for an accident, and the total damages amount to $100,000, the plaintiff can still recover 70% of the damages, which would be $70,000.

This approach is fairer than the all-or-nothing approach of contributory negligence systems. It’s crucial in complex cases where multiple parties share varying degrees of fault because it enables all parties to be held accountable for their portion of the fault.

Implications for plaintiffs and defendants

For crash victims, pure comparative negligence encourages plaintiffs to seek compensation, knowing that their partial fault won’t completely bar their recovery. For defendants, it provides a fair chance to argue that a plaintiff’s negligence contributed to the incident, potentially reducing the amount they have to pay in damages.

Anyone who suffers an injury in California due at least in part to the negligence of another party can seek compensation. These cases are often complex, so it’s best to seek guidance from a professional who’s familiar with these laws. State law only provides a limited time to do this, so swift action is critical.