What Is Comparative Fault?

In order to recover compensation in a California personal injury claim, the plaintiff (also referred to as the claimant) must prove that negligence on the part of the defendant directly resulted in injury. If there are multiple defendants, such as a commercial truck driver who was not properly trained and a truck manufacturer that used defective parts, each party's share of blame for the accident must be determined.

In the case of multiple at-fault parties, the court must determine a percentage of fault to each party. In California, if an injured claimant is partially at fault for an accident, that person can still recover money for medical costs, lost property, lost wages, and pain and suffering, but the amount recovered will be reduced by the percentage the claimant is determined to be at fault. Thus, if it was determined you were 25 percent at fault for an accident and your total medical costs are $10,000, your recovery would be reduced by $2,500.

Pure Comparative Fault

In some states, if an injured party is more than 50 percent at fault, he or she cannot bring a claim against another party. California applies a rule of pure comparative fault (also commonly referred to as pure comparative negligence), which means you may pursue an injury claim as long as you are not 100 percent at fault. Of course, the more you are responsible for an accident, the less you will be able to recover.

Insurance companies often look for ways to shift the blame for injury accidents to the injured party in order to minimize the amount paid out or prevent a claim from being made. It is important that you work with a knowledgeable and experienced injury lawyer like Steven M. Hanna, who recognizes these tactics and knows how to protect your interests.

Prompt Action Is Important

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, call 714-872-9165 or use our online contact form to schedule a meeting. Do not speak with insurance company representatives until you speak with our attorney. You do not want to make any statement that could be used to increase your share of blame in an accident. We represent clients throughout Orange County from our office in Fullerton.