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Is comparative negligence recognized in California?

When a California driver is involved in a motor vehicle collision there are several important steps that should be followed. They should first attend to any medical or health-related emergencies that may stem from their involvement in the collision. Being checked out by a medical professional is a good way to ensure that a victim has not suffered a latent injury that they are not aware of. They should also collect as much information about their accident as possible.

This can include exchanging information with other drivers and passengers, taking pictures of the accident scene and contacting authorities if needed. Drivers should not admit fault after an accident, as such admissions may later hold them liable for the losses sustained by others. Fault is an important element in seeking one's accident-related losses, and must generally be proven through the legal process.

The victim of a car accident may file a pleading with the court alleging that another party negligently caused their injuries. For example, the victim can claim another party ran a stop sign and collided with the victim's vehicle, causing their injuries. However, in their response, the stop sign running party may claim that the other driver was speeding and entered the intersection without properly checking if the path was clear. In such a case where absolute fault may be ambiguous, comparative negligence may come into play.

Under the theory of pure comparative negligence, a victim may collect the percentage of their damages that they did not contribute to the crash. In the above example, if the speeding driver contributed 20 percent of the negligence to the collision and the other driver contributed 80 percent of the negligence, then the suing party could recover 80 percent of their losses.

Comparative negligence is recognized in California. It can affect a victim's damages award. In all personal injury cases it is advisable for individuals to discuss the possible outcomes of their cases with their personal injury legal representative.

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Law Offices of Steven M. Hanna, P.C.
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