What if I Was Partially at Fault in an Accident?

According to California’s comparative fault laws, you can still recover damages in a car accident lawsuit, even if you bear more than half of the fault for the accident, but the amount you can recover is less than if you had played no role in causing the accident.

In the moments after a car accident, your mind is flooded with financial worries. If you are injured, you worry about how much your medical bills will cost. Even if you do not suffer serious injuries, you worry about how much your car repairs will cost or how much your car insurance premiums will increase. Most of the financial consequences of a car accident are related to how much of the fault for the accident belongs to you. California law acknowledges that fault for car accidents usually is not a matter of all or nothing. The fault could belong to both drivers, and some of the fault could even belong to other parties, such as the car manufacturers or the city responsible for the road where the accident occurred. To find out more about recovering damages in a car accident that was partially your fault, contact the Murrieta car accident lawyers at Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP.

California Comparative Fault Law Basics

California is a pure comparative fault state; this means that, if you were injured in a car accident, you have the right to sue the driver, even if the accident was 99% your fault. You can only recover damages for the percentage of fault in the accident that was not yours. First, the court calculates your damages, which is your total accident-related financial losses, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and lost income resulting from your injuries. Then it multiplies that amount by the percentage of fault in the accident that was not yours. For example, if your damages were $50,000, and the accident was 20% your fault, you can collect $40,000.

Comparative Fault Laws in Action

What happens if both parties are partially at fault, and they both sue each other for damages? They can both win their cases, but comparative fault laws affect the damages awards. Assume that Agatha and Belinda get into a car accident, where Agatha is 30% at fault and Belinda is 70% at fault, but Belinda’s injuries are worse. Agatha’s damages are $10,000; she can sue Belinda and collect 70% of the damages, so the court will award her $7,000. Agatha’s damages are $30,000, and she can collect 30% of that, so the court will award her $9,000. Whether this is the best option for either of them depends on what kinds of insurance coverage they have, among other factors.

Contact a Murrieta Car Accident Lawyer

A car accident lawyer can help you if you have been injured in an accident where part of the fault for causing the accident belongs to you. Contact Gibbs & Fuerst LLP in Murrieta, California to set up a consultation about your car accident case.