California Pure Comparative Negligence

personal injury | February 1, 2021

Any time someone is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, they should be entitled to compensation. However, one important aspect of securing compensation is determining liability. Injury victims have to prove the negligence of the other party in order to be able to recover compensation, but there are times when more than one party shares fault.

California uses a “pure comparative negligence” system when it comes to these situations. Here, we want to describe what pure comparative negligence means, specifically when compared to other types of comparative negligence in America.

California Pure Comparative Negligence

Understanding Comparative Negligence in a California Case

When it comes to determining who receives compensation after an injury occurs, states around the country handle this matter differently. A few states in this country work on a contributory negligence system, which means that a person cannot recover any compensation if they are responsible for the incident in any way. However, most states work under a form of modified comparative negligence. In general, most states around the country allow injury victims to receive compensation so long as they are 50% or less at fault for the incident.

California, however, operates under a pure comparative negligence system that allows injury victims to recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for the incident. Comparative negligence is used in 13 states total in the country.

Even though an injury victim can receive compensation if they share fault for an incident, the total amount that they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. For example, if Rebecca trips and falls inside of a grocery store because of electrical cords running across the floor, and if she sustains $100,000 in total medical bills, she will generally be entitled to recover compensation. However, suppose it is determined that Rebecca was texting and staring at her phone at the time the incident occurred and was 20% responsible for the incident. In this theoretical scenario, she would receive $80,000 in total compensation, which is 20% less than the $100,000 total. The total compensation amount was lowered to account for her percentage of negligence.

How is Fault Determined in These Cases?

Determining compensation in these situations involves proving negligence. In order to do this, various types of evidence will be used. While every personal injury case will be different, some of the most common types of evidence used to determine negligence include the following:

  • Any photo or video surveillance of the incident
  • Statements from any eyewitnesses to the incident
  • Safety records of a property owner
  • Employer safety records
  • Accident reports
  • Vehicle “black box” data
  • Mobile device data

Obtaining all this evidence can be challenging, but a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer can use their resources to help ensure that the entire incident is properly investigated.

Contact an Attorney to Help with Your Case Today

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of someone else, contact a Sacramento personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to conduct a complete investigation into the incident and help ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Regardless of whether or not you contributed to the incident, you are still entitled to compensation in the state of California.