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How can comparative negligence affect personal injury claims?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2024 | Personal Injury

Comparative negligence is a concept that can impact the result of a personal injury claim. The pure comparative negligence rule in California determines a victim’s compensation, even if they are partly at fault for their injuries. If you are facing this legal concept due to an accident, how might it limit your claim?

Impacts of comparative negligence

In personal injury cases where both parties involved bear some level of responsibility, the courts apply comparative negligence to determine the fault of each party. In a comparative negligence system, each party’s percentage of fault directly affects their potential recovery. The impacts of comparative negligence on personal injury claims include:

  • Reduction of damages: If the plaintiff is partially at fault, their damages will be decreased by their percentage of fault. For example, a plaintiff who gets $100,000 in damages but is 25% at fault will only get $75,000.
  • Strain on settlement talks: Both sides will likely argue over the degree of fault, knowing that it will affect the amount of compensation.
  • Allocation of fault among multiple defendants: When there are multiple defendants, they are only responsible for their portion of the damages. If two defendants are each 50% at fault, then they will only be responsible for paying 50% of the plaintiff’s damages.

Meanwhile, proving comparative negligence requires the plaintiff to confirm that the defendant was negligent and that such negligence led to their injuries. This involves showing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, breached that duty and that the breach also caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

The importance of evidence

In comparative negligence cases, evidence is critical because both parties must prove the other party’s level of fault. They may present expert testimony, physical evidence and witness testimony to support their version of events.

Pursuing compensation and justice

Suffering injuries in an accident can cause pain, worry and stress. With legal support, you can better address the challenges of pursuing compensation. A legal advocate can help protect your rights as they pursue justice for you while you heal and recover from your mishap.