You were in a car crash and suffered a serious injury. You have major medical bills and lost wages to worry about, as well as a totaled vehicle to replace. Although the other driver is at fault for the crash, their insurance won’t be enough to cover all of the losses you’ve suffered.
The other driver admitted to drunk driving or texting at the wheel, but you also made a mistake right before the crash. Perhaps you failed to stop at an intersection or didn’t use your turn signal. While the police report may reflect that the other driver is ultimately at fault, it may also implicate you as partially responsible for the crash.
If you eventually need to bring a personal injury claim against the other driver because your financial losses from the wreck exceed how much insurance they carry, will your partial role in causing the crash prevent you from getting compensation?
California has a strict comparative fault rule for personal injury cases
Anyone who suffers property damage or injuries because of the actions of someone else against the person ultimately responsible for their losses. The courts review the claims of both parties and then determine how much compensation is appropriate for the plaintiff to receive, if any.
After a car crash caused by another driver, you might claim lost wages, medical bills and vehicle repair expenses. The other driver might attempt to defend against your claim by alleging that your comparative fault or contributory negligence influenced the outcome of the wreck.
If the courts agree with the defendant, they will assign a specific portion of fault to you for the wreck. The law in California does not prevent you from securing compensation in a lawsuit even if you are 99% at fault for a crash. Instead, what the judge ultimately awards you will decrease depending on your portion of responsibility.
A small mistake shouldn’t stop you from seeking compensation
Contributing to a crash in some minor way should not prevent you from making an insurance claim or filing a civil lawsuit to protect yourself from financial losses. Understanding how personal injury laws work in California can help empower you to hold someone accountable for a crash that resulted in financial consequences for you.