Sometimes the circumstances of an accident are complex and the matter of
assigning fault is not simply a matter of identifying a single party.
In asserting the details of an accident, you might find that multiple
parties had a hand in causing it—or that you, the injured victim,
also contributed. In these cases, how is fault assigned? Can you still
pursue compensation even if you were partially responsible for the circumstances
that harmed you?
In California, you can. While other states have stringent "all-or-nothing"
laws for assigning fault, California has something called "comparative
negligence" (or comparative fault). Comparative fault means that
in a civil case, negligence is determined and assigned as percentage to
the parties involved. This law not only makes holding multiple parties
responsible for an accident easier, it also allows victims to pursue compensation
even if they accidentally contributed to their own injury.
To explore how comparative negligence works, let's look at simple,
- A victim sues for $10,000 for their injuries.
- The jury finds the defendant to be 75% at fault for the injuries.
- The jury also finds that the victim was 25% at fault.
- The victim, then, is awarded $7,500.
In this example, the jury ruled in the victim's favor—but also
found that he or she partially contributed to their own injury. Thus,
they were awarded the amount they asked for, minus the percentage they
were found at fault (in this example, 25%).
Accurately Asserting Your Role in the Incident
While comparative fault allows for much-needed flexibility when the court
needs to parse complex circumstances, it also can allow defendants to
overstate the victim's role in their own injury. This can minimize
injuries, distort the facts, and, ultimately, lead to insufficient compensation.
Ensure that your role in your injury is aggressively and convincingly conveyed
to the judge and jury. At the
Law Office of Scott Righthand, P.C., our dedicated and award-winning legal team has been helping injury victims
receive compensation for their pain and suffering for over three decades.
Put your case is trusted hands. Complete our
free case evaluation form today.