Comparative Negligence in California

Comparative Negligence in California

States use either contributory or comparative negligence to determine fault in road accidents. Contributory is considered antiquated and harsh, meaning that the person at fault is absolved if the victim was also negligent. Comparative negligence means you can receive damages even if you contributed to the cause of your motorcycle accident. In 1975 the California Supreme Court ruled entire fault law was unfair and shared law should replace it.

Comparative Negligence in California
Comparative Negligence in California

How Level of Fault is Decided

Let’s say you get into an accident at a left turn with a passenger vehicle. You sue them and claim that they didn’t slow down enough, while they claim you were speeding. The jury finds you both liable, with you liable for ⅓ of the damages—$30,000 for medical and property expenses. You are on the hook for $10,000 of the total amount due. 

For this outcome to play out, the defendant has to prove that the negligence of the plaintiff contributed to the motorcycle accident, or: 

  1. The plaintiff was negligent; and
  2. A substantial factor in causing the motorcycle accident was the plaintiff’s negligence.

Percentages must always equal 100 when dividing up responsibility between plaintiffs, defendants, and non-parties. The plaintiff will also receive their separate determination of damages without considering the percentage of responsibility they were assigned.

When You Are Primarily Responsible 

Within comparative negligence, negligence is further divided into modified and pure. California follows the pure comparative negligence standard, which means the plaintiff can recover any portion of damages awarded by the jury minus their fault as determined by the same jury. 

Without a lawyer by your side such as Pasadena motorcycle accident attorney, you could end up paying for much more of your accident.

Contact Motorcycle Advocates for a free consultation today at (844) CYCLE 44.