Pure Comparative Negligence and Its Implications in California Personal Injury Lawsuits

Any time an individual files a California personal injury lawsuit, they must be able to provide evidence of each element of their claim. In a traditional negligence case, this means establishing that the defendant violated a duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff. While the outcome of a case can vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction, generally, states follow one of four basic theories regarding fault:

  • Pure Contributory Negligence – a plaintiff cannot recover damages if they are found to be even the slightest bit at fault.
  • Pure Comparative Negligence – a plaintiff can recover damages if they are partially at fault (even 99% at fault).
  • Modified Comparative Negligence – a plaintiff cannot recover damages if they are more than 50% at fault.
  • Gross/Slight Negligence – this is a mix between contributory negligence and comparative fault; it is only used in one state.

In 1975, California adopted the pure comparative negligence standard, effectively voiding other theories, such as assumption of risk and joint and several liability. Generally, under comparative fault, damages are apportioned to the defendant relative to their level of fault. Pure comparative fault allows a victim to recover damages even if they are 99% at fault; their recovery is reduced by their level of fault. In California, this means that a plaintiff’s negligence will offset a portion of the other party’s liability.

This theory has come under a significant amount of criticism because it allows a party that is more at fault to recover from a less culpable party. However, on the other hand, it allows California plaintiffs to recover damages in situations in which they may not have been able to recover under other theories. For example, in some states, if the plaintiff was 50% at fault, their recovery would be totally barred.

This theory applies to all sorts of personal injury lawsuits, including California trucking accidents, car accidents, boating accidents, and other injuries that may occur because of another party’s negligence.

California Woman Killed by Truck While Chasing Loose Dog

Earlier this month, a 22-year-old woman who was celebrating her birthday was killed by an armored truck. According to a local news report, the woman was arguing with her boyfriend when her dog got loose in a parking lot. As she was chasing the dog throughout the parking lot, an armored truck ran her over. Surveillance footage showed the woman waving just seconds before she was in the truck’s path, but it was unclear whether she was waving to a friend or to the driver. There is no indication as to whether the argument with her boyfriend caused the accident or the level of fault that should be apportioned to the truck driver.

Have You Been Injured in an Accident in California?

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a California truck accident, you should contact the attorneys at Sharifi Firm. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can assist you in pursuing damages even if you contributed in some way to your own injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, and in some instances, punitive damages. The attorneys at Sharifi Firm can assist you in understanding your rights and remedies. Contact the attorneys at Sharifi Firm at 866-4-CAR-ACCIDENT to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

California Court Upholds City’s Assertion of Trail Immunity in Recent Personal Injury Case, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, April 5, 2018

According to Recent California Appellate Opinion, Landlord Has No Legal Duty to Provide Defibrillator Device, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, April 19, 2018

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