Can I Sue If the Accident Was My Fault in California

Though much of the literature on the internet surrounding personal injury claims addresses the case from the plaintiff’s point of view, not all states designate a clear division between who is at fault and who is not. Some states, like California, operate under comparative negligence rules, which change the guidelines on who can file for a lawsuit after a car accident.

Contributing to the Car Accident

Not all car accidents are the direct result of the negligence of one driver over the other. Accidents are often the result of a combination of factors pertaining to each driver, ultimately resulting in their directing their respective attention elsewhere. For example, a driver might illegally park their car too close to an intersection. If another driver clips the end of this car because they weren’t actively scanning the road, both parties are at fault.

California law divides the percentage of fault for an accident between all parties involved. If a would-be plaintiff files a lawsuit against you, you can raise a partial defense. This motion claims the other party was partially to blame for the incident. In this case, the court tasks the defendant with providing evidence that supports their claim. Moreover, the defendant must prove the plaintiff’s negligent actions contributed to the accidence itself rather than just making the situation worse – the defendant becomes a plaintiff in their own right.

Pure Comparative Negligence

California is unique because it enforces pure comparative negligence guidelines in addressing car accidents. Many comparative negligence states only allow the defendant to press charges if their fault rating is less than 50%. Although no technically right or wrong party, this does divide the parties and dictate those who are too much to blame to file a lawsuit.

California allows all parties to press charges no matter their fault rating. Under pure comparative negligence guidelines, the fault rating each party possesses represents the amount of money taken away from their compensation. For instance, a driver who is 60% at fault can still file a personal injury claim. If the total compensation for their case amounts to $10,000, they would only take home $4,000.

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

Pursuing legal action requires knowledge about the legal process. All paperwork and evidence you gather must be relevant and submitted properly. These basic tasks are second nature to personal injury lawyers. The work and resources your lawyer puts into your case are plentiful and of high quality. Lawyers consult with professionals for opinions on specific topics, interview witnesses, and provide more overall legal tools than you would have on your own.

When raising a partial defense for a case in which you possess more fault, having a car accident attorney by your side could make a significant difference. They will help you determine if your case would