When it comes to personal injury cases involving a car accident, the liability of the party being sued is reduced by the extent of the victim’s contribution to the accident. The state of California uses the comparative negligence principle in determining liability so if you’re a victim of a car accident, the opposing party will try its best to prove that you played a role in the accident in order to minimize or completely avoid liability.
How does comparative negligence work?
Susie happens to be making a right turn when she hits Joe who was speeding in an attempt to go past a red light. Joe sustains serious injuries as a result of the accident. After all facts are submitted, the jury may find that Susie is 50% at fault for making a blind right turn, colliding with and injuring Joe, while Joe is 50% liable for the accident for speeding despite the red light. If the total verdict/compensation is $100,000, Joe only gets half.
The system works in the concept of fairness. Every person using the road is supposed to practice due diligence in keeping both himself and others safe. A car accident victim may also be considered negligent if he rides in a car he’s aware is defective or one being driven by an unfit driver; as a pedestrian, he could also make sudden movements that trigger the accident. Fault is divided among parties involved and the same applies even during negotiation with insurance companies.