How Comparative Negligence Can Affect My Personal Injury Case
Negligence is when an individual violates the duty of care owed to another person. For example, a driver who runs a red light and causes an accident is negligent because they breached the duty of care to other motorists by violating traffic laws and causing a traffic collision.
Negligence laws differ from state to state, and California is a state that uses the pure comparative negligence system. Under this theory of negligence, recovery of damages is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the person making a claim.
How Comparative Negligence Works in a Claim for Damages
Here is an example of how comparative negligence works in personal injury claims in California:
Mary is proceeding straight through an intersection with a green light, when Joe, who is executing a left-hand turn against oncoming traffic, T-bones her vehicle. Joe violated Mary’s right-of-way and is mainly at fault for the accident. However, Joe’s insurance company’s lawyer discovers that Mary was talking hands-free on her cell phone at the time the crash occurred. In an effort to minimize the insurance company’s payout for Mary’s damages, the attorney will try to assign a percentage of fault for the crash to Mary, asserting that she was distracted by talking on a cell phone at the time of the accident.
Although Joe clearly caused the accident, the other side argues that if Mary had not been talking on her cell phone, she might have reacted more quickly, to either avoid the crash entirely or minimize the impact of the collision. Eventually, in trial or after negotiations, Mary is assigned 10% of the fault for the accident. Her damages, including medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and property damage amount to $200,000. But, because she bears 10% of the blame for her accident and injuries, her compensation is reduced by 10% to $180,000.
Maximize Your Recovery in a Personal Injury Claim
To prove that the other party is at fault for the accident and maximize your settlement or award, your attorney will need to show that the defendant:
- Owed you a duty of care;
- Breached that duty; and
- Caused your accident and injuries.
Your attorney will also need to show the specific damages you suffered as a result of the defendant’s breach of duty. If all these elements can be proven, you have a case and can recover compensation, less the percentage of fault assigned to you. For your best chance of obtaining the maximum possible recovery, you need an experienced Long Beach personal injury lawyer by your side.
Why You Need a Lawyer
When Attorney Joseph H. Low represents you in a personal injury claim, he can thoroughly investigate your accident, determine fault and liability, secure evidence and work with experts to support your claim, argue against assignment of fault to you, negotiate skillfully with the other side, and take your case to trial, if necessary. He has the skills, knowledge, and resources to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve after a serious accident caused by the negligence of another.
Why Choose Us
- Joseph Low is a seasoned trial lawyer with a great record.
- He can craft and deliver a story to the judge and jury, and he is willing to go to war with big, powerful corporations and interests.
- Attorney Joseph Low has been licensed to practice law since 1998 and has tried cases in 14 different states.
If you are seeking damages for a personal injury in California, you need a dedicated advocate who can expertly handle your claim. Call The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV today at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569 to schedule a free consultation. Attorney Joseph Low can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.