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About Pure Comparative Negligence Laws in California


In some personal injury cases, a person who has sustained severe injuries is partially at fault. Although another party may be more to blame for the events of an accident, an injury victim may have contributed as well. For example, a motorcycle rider may be injured in an accident because a driver drifted into their lane. However, the motorcyclist was not wearing proper protective gear, causing their injuries to be more severe than it should be. There is a misconception among many people that they cannot recover compensation through a personal injury claim if they are partially at fault for their own injuries. However, this is not the case.

Principles such as comparative negligence and contributory negligence account for the possibility that multiple parties, including an injured person, can be liable for accidents. California has pure comparative negligence laws in place which allow people to recover compensation through a personal injury claim, even if they were partially at fault. The liability of each party is taken into account, and the compensation they can receive is reduced accordingly. For example, a person could be found to be 20% at fault for their injuries. Initially, they were going to be provided $10,000 in compensation. Due to their partial responsibility for their injuries, their award would be reduced by 20% for a total compensation amount of $8,000.

How is Pure Comparative Negligence Different from Other Types of Comparative Negligence Laws?

There are multiple interpretations of comparative negligence laws. Pure comparative negligence is different because it allows anyone to recover compensation through a personal injury claim, regardless of how much they contributed to their own injuries. Therefore, a person who is 99% at fault for an accident can still receive compensation.

Conversely, some states have modified comparative negligence laws in place. Under modified comparative negligence laws, a person may be able to recover compensation if they are partially at fault for their own injuries but will be barred if they are more at fault than the other party. So, a person who is 40% at fault for their injuries could recover compensation but someone who is 55% at fault could not. Some states place a limit on recovering compensation for people over 50% at fault, while others place the limit at 51%.

Contact Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP if you have been injured because of another person’s negligence. We will guide you through the legal processes of your claim and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

If you are interested in speaking with our legal team, send us a message or call 888.998.2031 for a free consultation with our lawyers.