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What Happens When an Accident Is Partially My Fault?


An accident occurs—you’re in shock; you’re confused, and you don’t know what to do next. You start saying things to the other party and you’re not sure if you’re at fault for the crash, so you apologize to the other party.

Unfortunately, when someone is partially at fault, they feel as though they no longer have a right to file a claim for compensation. However, it’s important to recognize that the state of California recognizes pure comparative negligence when determining liability in a car accident.

What Is Pure Comparative Negligence?

In auto accidents, California considers comparative negligence to determine the amount of damages available to those injured in the accident. Typically, the defendant party is considered liable only for the percentage of the accident that is his or her fault.

The amount determined is than factored into the damages awarded to the injured party. For example, if you are injured in an accident, but are considered to be 30 percent at fault for the collision, the damages would be reduced by that 30 percent.

If your awarded a total of $500,000, yet comparative negligence determines you were at least 30 percent at fault for the collision, the award can be reduced to $350,000 to account for your role in contributing to the crash.

Do I Have to Pay Anything Under Comparative Negligence?

As the plaintiff in a car accident claim, you don’t have to pay anything for the crash unless you are considered to be 51 percent or more at fault for the crash. If you were 40% at fault, you would not be responsible for paying anything; rather, the defendant would pay for 60% of the damages instead of the full 100%.

This can be complicated to understand. However, our Santa Monica car accident attorneys are here to stand by your side. We’re here to help you understand what rights you have and protect them throughout the entire process.

With McGee Lerer on your side, you can feel peace of mind knowing that the complicated matters are handled effectively so you can focus on your own recovery. We’ll explain your rights and what to expect next so we can make a decision best suited to your needs.

For a free consultation, call our firm today at (310) 692-9582.

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