Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP
Treating California’s Injured With Dignity And Respect

The implications of comparative fault in car accident claims

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2024 | Car Accidents

In California, establishing fault in a car accident is not always a clear-cut issue. The state’s pure comparative fault system allows for shared fault among all parties involved in an accident. If you incurred an injury in a multi-car crash, how can you determine liability and compensation in your pursuit of justice?

How comparative fault works

Comparative fault or comparative negligence makes it possible for each party to recover damages proportionate to their degree of fault. According to the California Civil Code, everyone is responsible for the outcomes of their lack of ordinary care or skill that leads to injury.

In car accidents, comparative fault comes into play when more than one driver is at fault. It works in this process:

  • Determining fault: After an accident, insurance companies investigate to determine who was at fault. They consider various factors, such as driver behavior, traffic violations and evidence from the accident scene.
  • Assigning percentages: Once fault is established, each driver gets a percentage of blame. These percentages must add up to 100%.
  • Calculating damages: The calculation of total damages follows, and each driver is responsible for paying their percentage.

As an example, Driver A and Driver B were involved in an accident. Driver A was speeding, but Driver B failed to yield the right of way. The investigation determined that Driver A is 60% at fault while Driver B is 40% at fault. If the total damages are $10,000, then Driver A would be responsible for $6,000 and Driver B would be responsible for $4,000.

Impacts of comparative fault

Comparative fault can significantly influence the possible amount of compensation. If partially at fault, an injured driver’s compensation will decrease by their percentage of fault. In addition, comparative fault can also affect liability claims. If a driver is more than 50% at fault, they may end up owing more than they receive.

Aiming for fair compensation

It can be challenging to deal with the complexities of comparative fault, especially while facing the aftermath of a car accident. With legal support, you can better understand your rights and potential outcomes. A legal advocate also can help you protect your rights and aim for fair compensation as you seek justice.