Padilla Law Group, LLP

How comparative fault can affect a personal injury claim

Anyone can be responsible for a car accident and, in fact, in most cases more than one individual can be found to be at fault. Although this may sound like a common occurrence, it may complicate matters when a personal injury lawsuit is filed by one party against the other. So, how is proportioned fault dealt with in lawsuits in California?

California recognizes comparative negligence. This means that the court will assess each party's percentage of fault and issue damages accordingly. Therefore, if a defendant is found to have been 60 percent at fault in causing an injurious accident, then he or she will only be ordered to pay 60 percent of the damages suffered by the plaintiff. For example, if a defendant is found to be 55 percent responsible for an accident where the damages equal $10,000, then he or she will be ordered to pay $5,500. The plaintiff, then, will have to absorb the rest of his or her damages.

So what does this mean for Californians who are considering bring forth a personal injury lawsuit? It means that they not only have to be prepared to put forth evidence to show that the defendant's negligence caused his or her damages, but he or she also needs to be prepared to defend his or herself from allegations of negligent acts.

Therefore, these individuals need to know the law from both the plaintiff and the defendant's perspective. Then, utilizing the evidence at hand, these victims can build the strongest case possible. For many victims, securing the assistance of a skilled legal professional proves beneficial, as he or she may know how to help identify physical evidence and witness testimony, as well as develop strong legal arguments, that can leave a plaintiff as well-positioned as possible before moving into negotiations and litigation.

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