Comparative Negligence Could Affect Your Car Accident Lawsuit
Experiencing even a fender bender can cause a fear of driving or painful whiplash. However, if you are involved in a serious car accident, you will also have to deal with high medical bills, car repair costs, and lost time at work.
To help you manage these costs, you may work with an experienced Murrieta car accident lawyer to file a lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve. To determine the merits of your claim, you need to understand California’s at-fault laws, including how the pure comparative negligence rule could affect your case.
What is Pure Comparative Negligence?
California is an at-fault state, meaning you must prove negligence on the other driver’s part to receive compensation after an auto accident. However, California also follows pure comparative negligence law, which can make getting your compensation challenging without the expert guidance of a personal injury attorney in Murrieta, California.
Pure comparative negligence means that even if you were partly at fault in the accident, you could still receive compensation. However, it also means that if the court finds you partially at fault, they reduce the amount of money you receive. For example, if a drunk driver hits your vehicle while following all traffic laws, you receive 100% of the settlement amount. In the same case, if you were speeding, and the court determined that you contributed 10% of the fault to the accident, you receive 90% of the settlement.
Proving Negligence in California
It’s essential that you work with a car accident lawyer in Murrieta when filing your lawsuit. The other driver will likely present a case that states you hold significant liability in an attempt to reduce the amount they must pay you.
To fight this defense, your lawyer must show they caused the accident through negligence. To do this, they need to prove four points:
1. They had a duty
This involves showing that the negligent driver had a duty to protect you. By driving on the road, drivers take on the responsibility to protect other drivers by following the law.
2. They broke their duty
Your Murrieta lawyer must show that the other driver broke their duty by speeding, driving under the influence, or using other reckless driving tactics. Your lawyer may use the police report, traffic cams, or a breathalyzer result to show this step.
3. Their breach of duty caused your injury
Next, you’ll need to show that your injuries occurred because of this breach. To do this, your lawyer may use medical reports or expert witnesses. This step is essential since if the court believes your injury resulted from a different cause, you won’t receive compensation.
4. Provable Damages
Lastly, you must have demonstrable damages to receive compensation. These can include your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other costs you incur due to the accident. You can also include non-economic damages, which are harder to quantify, like pain and suffering caused by the accident.
Arrange a Free Consultation Today
If you or a loved one was recently a car accident victim in California, contact the law office of Jonathan Preston for a confidential, complimentary consultation to learn how pure comparative negligence applies to your case.
With experience handling all types of personal injury cases, including car accident claims, our skilled legal team will work to reduce your percentage of fault and maximize your compensatory award.