If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident that you weren’t fully at fault for, you may be wondering if you can collect damages. The reality is that it’s up to the state laws of California to decide whether or not you can collect and how much you can collect for medical bills and damages to your vehicle.
Contributory vs. comparative negligence
Fault for car accidents can be placed on one or more parties depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Each state uses either contributory negligence or comparative negligence laws to determine which driver can sue. In contributory negligence states, injured parties may not collect damages if they are deemed partially at fault for the accident. In states like California that follow comparative negligence laws, injured parties can collect damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident.
Calculating how much you can collect
Comparative negligence states allow you to collect some damages for the fault that was not placed on you. There are three main types of comparative negligence. The first is pure comparative negligence, which is the law for the state of California. Under pure negligence law, all parties can collect damages for their injuries minus their portion of the fault for the accident.
The second and third types of this fault use a 50% and 51% law. In modified comparative negligence states following the 50% rule, a party may not collect damages if they are 50% or more at fault for the accident. In modified comparative negligence states following the 51% rule, a person can’t collect damages if they are 51% or more at fault.
Being involved in a car accident can result in personal injuries as well as damage to your vehicle. Even though you may be partially at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. It’s vital to talk with a legal professional to determine what negligence laws govern your state.