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Understanding Comparative Negligence and The Role It Plays In Your Car Accident Claim

After a car accident, you will likely wonder if you suffered any injuries. If your health is intact and you don’t have to undergo extensive medical treatment, that’s great. However, you now have to file a car accident claim to recover the damages.


If you live in California, you probably know about “comparative negligence” – but you’re not exactly sure what it means. It involves state laws that determine who’s at fault in car accidents. How does comparative negligence affect your claim? Here is what our car accident attorneys in San Diego want you to know:


What is comparative negligence?

California negligence laws divide the responsibility of an accident between the drivers. In other words, most drivers are at least partially at fault, even if someone’s else negligence caused the accident. The extent to which everyone is at fault will determine the compensation awarded.


Why is comparative negligence significant?

These laws are important because they affect the amount of money you can recover from the accident. For example, the court decides to take up your personal injury claim and determines that you’re 10% responsible. If the settlement is worth $60,000, the amount is then reduced by 10%, making it now worth $54,000.


How does comparative negligence affect your car accident claim?

You can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company with pure comparative negligence. However, you can only do this if you’re not 100% responsible for the accident. Certain circumstances can change the percentage of fault – it all depends on your case’s facts.


How is fault decided in car accidents?

The insurance companies have the final say because they’re the ones paying out the claims. However, several factors can determine who’s at fault for the accident. For example, the findings in a police report play a significant role. Police will take note of any infractions that occur before and during the accident.


Police reports are exceedingly helpful for sorting out the facts. However, keep in mind that insurance companies will also do their own investigating. What they find may not always agree with the information included in a police report. They can also conduct their own interviews of witnesses and review any laws about your case.


Photos and videos are also crucial in determining how the crash occurred and who’s at fault. You ultimately want to collect any evidence or information that’ll support your claim. Insurance companies will then review everything and come to their own conclusions on the percentage of fault for every driver.


What if you disagree with the percentage of fault?

You can always discuss the issue with the claims adjuster. However, it’s advised that you consult with an attorney who’ll explore all your options. For example, you can always file a lawsuit if you and the insurance company can’t agree to a settlement. An alternative choice is to drop your claim and file a new one with your own insurance coverage.


Contact an Attorney in San Diego

The experts at HHJ Trial Attorneys are the right people to oversee your car accident claim. We’ll provide you with the legal resources necessary to navigate the process. We understand how comparative negligence works and can maximize your compensation. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more about how we can help.


Testimonial from Darren, Car Accident Victim
I recently met with the team at HHJ and could tell right away that this was a firm that is truly at the top of their game. The office was very organized and the team was very professional. Michael and Elliott were both exceptional and proved to have an amazing amount of experience in personal injury law.

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