Fault plays a major role in the financial responsibility for a California collision. The person who caused a wreck should provide liability insurance coverage for the incident. They could also potentially face a lawsuit brought by the other party involved in the crash.
Given that the mandatory insurance requirements in California are somewhat low, many people need to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court if they want to recoup medical expenses and lost wages. Unfortunately, not every collision is a black-and-white scenario in which one party is fully to blame and the other is without any fault.
Frequently, crashes occur because everyone involved did something unsafe or risky. What rights does someone have when they are partially responsible for a California collision?
California has a pure comparative negligence law
Under the law in California, every person and business is directly responsible for the consequences of misconduct or negligence. When someone causes a crash by running a red light, that driver will be primarily responsible for the losses others incur due to their poor choices.
However, they could defray some responsibility by pointing out how the actions or failures of the other people involved affected the situation. When someone tries to defend against crash liability by blaming the other party for being negligent, the courts will look at the situation carefully. Each party will receive an allocation of responsibility or fault for the situation.
Even if someone is 99% to blame for a crash, they could still hold the other party accountable for the 1% fault they have for a collision under the comparative negligence statute. Someone who partially contributed to a wreck through bad decisions in traffic, like failing to use a turn signal, may end up with a partial allocation of responsibility for the collision.
They will typically still be able to move forward with their lawsuit. The courts will simply reduce the proceeds awarded by the plaintiff’s portion of fault for the incident. The defendant leveraging the comparative negligence statute as part of their defense will need evidence showing that the plaintiff helped cause the crash through negligence or misconduct. Ultimately, learning about the state laws that apply during collision-related lawsuits may help people feel more confident about taking their crash claim to civil court.