A lot can happen in a traffic accident. Many parties might be involved, especially in high-traffic areas. Los Angeles is a busy city where bikers, pedestrians and vehicles share the roads. When an accident occurs, it’s not always crystal clear on who is at fault. But if no one is fully to blame, then who is responsible for paying damages?
Comparative liability, also known as comparative negligence, is a theory some states use to split up the blame of an accident. For example, a driver might stop abruptly for a squirrel, while another driver is speeding and looking down, and the result is an ugly crash. Technically, both drivers are to blame and neither are fully responsible.
California uses pure comparative fault laws
Comparative liability laws vary from state to state. Some processes involve a percentage system: One person may be at fault for 30 percent of the accident, while the other person is at 70 percent. A claim can be denied if someone hits a certain percentage.
Fortunately, California follows a system called pure comparative negligence. The system determines each person’s liability in an accident. Even if you are at some fault, you can still recover damages. However, it may be a reduced amount, depending on your liability percentage.
What might be covered?
The total rewarded damages are typically separated into three categories: Economic, non-economic and punitive damages. If you suffered from lost wages and medical expenses, those are calculated in first. Damages for pain and suffering are then considered. Lastly, the court will look at possible loss of enjoyment in life. This means the person impacted by the accident has experienced major lifestyle changes and is unable to maintain happiness.
A car accident or bicyclist accident is already a traumatic experience. It’s important to find a committed attorney when dealing with the comparative negligence laws. They will look out for your best interests as you work on recovering.