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Can you recover compensation even if you were at fault?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2021 | Car Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents |

If you were recently involved in a California motor vehicle and/or pedestrian accident, and if you were most at fault for the accident, you may wonder if you can still recover compensation via a personal injury claim. In most cases, the answer is yes.

According to FindLaw, California is one of nearly one-third of all states that abide by a pure comparative fault rule. The site explains what this means and why it may prove beneficial to you following an accident in which you share most of the blame.

Understanding pure comparative fault

Per the pure comparative negligence theory, plaintiffs in a personal injury claim may recover compensation even if they assume 99% liability for an accident. This theory is the most lenient of the three negligence theories. For instance, five states still abide by the pure contributory negligence rule. Per this rule, plaintiffs may not recover even if their percentage of fault was as minimal as 1%. In the states that abide by the modified comparative fault rule, plaintiffs may recover so long as their percentage of fault does not exceed 50% or 51%.

How your level of fault affects your recovery

Though it is nice that California law allows plaintiffs to recover even if they caused an accident, it is important to note that your level of a fault will affect your recovery. This is because the courts reduce damages by the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff. For instance, if you were 60% at fault for an accident, the courts will reduce your damages by 60%. Depending on the value of your damages, it may not be worth your while to pursue a claim, as the costs of doing so may outweigh your recovery. A knowledgeable attorney can hear the facts of your case and help you determine if it is worth your while to pursue a claim.