Comparative fault is the legal principle that more than one party can be responsible for causing an injury. This principle allows fault to be divided among parties. For example, in a 2 car accident, the driver whose car was rear-ended by another car may have braked unnecessarily, thus contributing to the accident. The driver whose car rear ended the car ahead of him may have been speeding or following too closely, thus also contributing to the accident. Based on all the evidence at trial, a jury could find the parties 50-50 responsible for the accident … or it could be 60-40 or some other number, depending on the specific facts.
In some jurisdictions, a person who contributes to his/her own injury may be barred from seeking compensation from the other driver. In California, however, that person may recover a percentage of his/her total damages in relation to the percent of the other driver’s fault.
The bottom line is this: Regardless of who you think may be at fault for an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for some of your damages under the principle of comparative fault. Don’t be bullied by insurance companies who may try to persuade you this kind of situation is a “wash” and not worth pursuing or that you won’t get anything for your injuries because you may have contributed to the accident in some small way. Call someone who will give you advice you can trust.
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