What Happens If I’m Partially At Fault For a Car Accident?

Sustaining an injury or property damage in a vehicle accident can be an incredibly challenging experience to go through, but individuals should be able to recover compensation if another party was at fault for the incident. However, there are times when there are shared fault incidents. Here, we want to review what happens in California if an individual is partially at fault for their own injuries or property damage.

Understanding California’s Pure Comparative Negligence System

Every state across the country has some sort of shared fault laws in place in order to determine how compensation gets doled out after an incident occurs. Fault is not always straightforward. There are times when more than one party share blame and California has chosen to use a pure comparative negligence system to handle this.

Under a comparative negligence system, individuals can recover compensation regardless of how much fault they had for an incident, even if they are up to 99% at fault. However, that does not necessarily mean they will receive all of the compensation they need for their injuries or property damage.

When a person is partially at fault, they will receive reduced compensation depending on their percentage of fault. Perhaps the best way to explain how this works is to make a little scenario.

Suppose “John” gets into an accident with another vehicle that was speeding at the time the incident occurred. Let us also suppose that John sustains $100,000 worth of medical bills and property damage expenses. On the face of it, it may look like the speeding driver was at fault, but let us also suppose that John was looking at his phone at the time the incident occurred, and there is video surveillance footage attesting to this.

There’s no guarantee of how a jury will look at this particular scenario, but let us imagine that John is found to be 40% at fault for the incident. In this scenario, he would be awarded $60,000 instead of the full $100,000. The $40,000 less accounts for his 40% of fault, as determined by a jury.

These numbers are relatively straightforward because we wanted to show an example that made sense, but vehicle accidents are often much more complicated, particularly if there were three or more parties at fault for the incident. 

Don’t Admit Fault – Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer

It is crucial for individuals to never admit fault in the aftermath of a vehicle accident, even if they are convinced they caused the incident. The reality is that there are many factors to consider, and individuals may not immediately know whether or not another party is partially to blame for the incident. Accepting fault right away often ends an investigation, and it primes the other party to file a lawsuit. Individuals should not even admit fault to their own insurance carrier.

We strongly encourage any person who has been involved in a vehicle accident to reach out to a skilled car accident attorney who can examine the facts of their case and handle all communication with other parties.