When people think of situations that give rise to the filing of California personal injury lawsuits, they generally picture situations where one party acts in a negligent or reckless action such that another person is injured and responds by filing a legal claim in pursuit of damages. While these situations arise often, there are also many times where someone is badly injured or worse and both parties involved in the incident were somewhat at fault. California law needs to account for these situations so that justice can be obtained, which is why many of these lawsuits involve the legal doctrine that is known as comparative negligence.
Below you will find a brief overview of the details regarding California’s system of comparative negligence as well as examples of how it would apply to specific situations. You will also find information regarding why it’s important to thoroughly analyze these situations before deciding what to do so that a sound decision can be made regarding whether or not to pursue legal remedies. Anyone who has been injured by someone else needs to obtain the advice of California injury lawyers as soon as possible.
California Comparative Negligence – A Brief Introduction
For decades, California followed what could basically be described as an ‘all or nothing’ standard when it came to shared fault. That meant that if a would-be plaintiff shared in the fault for the incident at issue, he or she would not be able to recover damages. However, that all changed in 1975 when the California Supreme Court allowed a plaintiff who was partially at fault for a car accident to recover a percentage of damages.
That court case led to the development of what California has in place today, which is known as a ‘pure’ comparative fault standard. That means that if a plaintiff in a California personal injury lawsuit was partially at fault for the incident that led to the injuries and damages, he or she could still file the lawsuit and recover damages minus the percentage of fault that would be assigned to that person.
Therefore, if a person is 50 percent at fault and incurs $1 million in damages, he or she would still be able to recover $500,000. This is true regardless of the percentage of fault that’s assigned to the plaintiff – even if he or she was 95 percent at fault for the incident, that plaintiff could still recover $50,000. This is what’s known as ‘pure’ comparative negligence, as some jurisdictions only allow damages to be pursued in a lawsuit if the plaintiff was less than 50 percent at fault. This is known as ‘modified’ comparative negligence.
What this all means is that people who are injured in accidents should still have these situations reviewed even if they feel they were partially at fault. If you or someone you love has been injured, you need to seek the help of California injury lawyers who have been fighting for the rights of clients for many years. Contact the Demas Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation.