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Understanding Comparative Fault in California Accident Cases

Man shows Comparative negligence data in the book.

Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, but determining who is at fault can be a complex process that takes time. In many instances, the concept of comparative fault comes into play, further complicating the task of recovering compensation on behalf of the injured. Read on for an explanation of comparative fault and how it applies in California accident cases. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car or truck accident, slip and fall, or other incident in Southern California, contact Machtinger Law, APC, to review your case with a skilled and knowledgeable Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.

What Is Comparative Fault?

Comparative fault, also known as comparative negligence, is a legal doctrine used to apportion fault among the parties involved in an accident. Under comparative fault, a plaintiff can still recover damages even if they are partially responsible for the accident. However, their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault. This is in contrast to “contributory negligence,” where a plaintiff can be barred from recovering damages if they are found even slightly at fault.

While only a tiny fraction of states follow the contributory negligence rule, the remainder of states approach the concept of comparative fault in different ways. For instance, some states bar recovery if the plaintiff is 50% or more to blame, while others prevent the plaintiff from recovering only if over 50% at fault. California, however, follows the doctrine of pure contributory negligence. Here, a plaintiff can recover even if they were more than 50% responsible for the accident, although their recovery is reduced proportionally.

How Does Comparative Fault Work?

In a personal injury case, the jury or judge will determine the total amount of damages based on the evidence presented. They will then assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in the accident. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and the court finds you 20% at fault and the other driver 80% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if your total damages were $100,000, you would receive $80,000 instead of the full amount.

This system allows for a fairer distribution of damages, ensuring that each party is held accountable for their contribution to the accident.

Clearly, the concept of comparative fault can significantly impact the outcome of your personal injury claim. It’s important to understand that even if you are partially at fault, you can still pursue compensation for your injuries. However, the amount you receive will be adjusted based on your degree of fault. This is why it’s crucial to have strong legal representation on your side. Whether negotiating with the insurance company or litigating in court, your attorney will gather all the relevant evidence and build a compelling case that establishes the other party’s negligence to the greatest extent possible.

Why Choose Machtinger Law, APC?

At Machtinger Law, APC, we understand the intricacies of comparative fault in California accident cases. Our experienced legal team is dedicated to fighting for the rights of personal injury victims in Southern California. We work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the maximum compensation possible, taking into account the nuances of comparative fault.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t navigate the legal system alone. Contact Machtinger Law, APC today for a free consultation. We’ll help you understand your rights and guide you through every step of your personal injury claim.

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