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Compensation when you are partly responsible for a crash

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Many people know they can seek compensation for their injuries sustained in a car accident. What happens if the collision is partly your fault? Can you still get a settlement?

California’s approach to car accidents involves assessing shared liability, where fault determination considers various factors.

Comparative fault system

California follows a pure comparative negligence system, meaning each party involved in a car accident can share a percentage of fault. This percentage represents their contribution to the incident, allowing for a fair distribution of liability.

Factors considered in fault determination

Each driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care on the road. Breaching this duty, such as through distracted driving or reckless behavior, is negligence. Accident investigators look at several things when determining fault, including:

Violating traffic laws significantly impacts fault assignment. Instances of speeding, running red lights or failing to yield can contribute to shared liability.

Failure to yield the right of way or disregarding traffic signs contributes to fault.

The availability of evidence, such as photos, videos or witness statements, plays a pivotal role in fault determination. Objective evidence can provide clarity in establishing shared liability.

Actions that contribute to an accident, even if not the primary cause, can result in shared fault.

External factors like adverse weather conditions or poorly maintained roads can impact fault determination. Drivers should adjust their behavior based on prevailing conditions.

Percentage-based liability

The comparative fault system considers all factors and assigns a percentage of liability to each party involved. For example, if Driver A is 70% at fault and Driver B is 30% at fault, their liability is proportional.

Insurance implications

California’s shared liability system influences insurance settlements. The percentage of fault assigned determines the amount each party’s insurance covers. A driver found partially at fault may receive a reduced settlement based on their degree of responsibility.

The higher your degree of fault, the lower your settlement.

Avoid shared liability

Motorists must adhere to traffic laws, exercise caution and consider the impact of their actions to minimize the risk of shared liability.