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What is Comparative Fault?

two men arguing after a car accidentNo matter how careful we are, accidents can happen. And when they do, it’s not always clear who is to blame. In fact, it’s quite common that several parties share some level of fault when it comes to car accidents that result in damages. This is when comparative fault, also called comparative negligence, comes into play. Our San Diego comparative fault attorney team explains what you need to know.

What Does Comparative Fault Mean for My Case?

In California personal injury cases, the doctrine of pure comparative fault applies. This means that even if a person who is injured in an accident is 99% at fault, they can still recover damages. Other states apply modified comparative fault, which means an accident victim can only claim compensation for damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the accident.

If you were in an accident in San Diego and have questions about comparative fault, contact our San Diego car accident lawyer team to see if you qualify to bring a claim for compensation.

What Is an Example of Comparative Fault?

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Keith J. Stone have represented several accident victims in cases where comparative fault applies. One example is a car accident in which multiple victims share fault for what happened:

A driver is distracted, runs a red light, and hits another vehicle. However, the second car was driving above the speed limit for that road. Both accident victims sustained damages, including medical costs and property damage. In this instance, both parties share some fault. The compensation they can receive is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them.

Who is Responsible for Recovery and Compensation?

In the above example, who is responsible for paying these damages? In short, both drivers can claim compensation. However, the first driver may not have to pay 100% of the damages because the second driver was speeding, which may have contributed to the crash and the overall severity of the collision.

Working with an experienced car accident lawyer in San Diego can help you understand your rights after an accident. Contact our team to schedule a free consultation to see how much your claim may be worth under comparative negligence law.

What is California’s Comparative Fault Law?

The comparative negligence law in California is the doctrine that provides a way to legally divide fault between the parties involved in an accident. The victim’s damages can then be reduced based on the percentage of fault that contributed to the accident.

The State of California replaced contributory negligence with comparative negligence in 1975 with Li v. Yellow Cab Co. , 13 Cal.3d 804. Contributory negligence made it unlawful for an accident victim to recover compensation for damages if they were even 1% at fault. Comparative fault changed that to make it possible for victims to claim compensation even if they shared fault.

How Does Comparative Fault Apply in Car Accident Cases?

In car accident cases, comparative fault allows victims to lawfully recover damages even if they are partially to blame for the accident itself. The law gives a jury the ability to apportion fault between everyone involved in the accident and adjust compensation according to the percentage of fault assigned to each party.

For example, if “Driver A” is deemed to be 25% responsible for an accident while “Driver B” is 75% at fault, their right to compensation for their damages is limited to that amount. If “Driver A” sues “Driver B” for $100,000 in damages, “Driver A” is only entitled to $75,000. The total of $100,000 is reduced by 25% under the comparative fault doctrine.

How Can an Attorney Help with Comparative Fault?

A San Diego comparative fault attorney can help accident victims understand their rights and claim the maximum compensation for their damages. With strong legal representation on your side, you’re more likely to get fair treatment from the insurance companies and others parties involved in the accident.

To learn more about the comparative fault in California and how it may affect your car accident case, contact the San Diego personal injury lawyer team. We’re ready to help you fight for your rights and get fair compensation after an accident.

Comparative Fault Car Accident Attorney in San Diego

If you were hurt in a car accident in San Diego, contact our team today to schedule a free consultation on your case. We can evaluate the evidence and determine what your claim may be worth using a comparative fault.

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