If you’ve recently been injured in an auto accident and you’re hesitant to speak with an attorney because you believe that you may have been partially to blame for what happened to you, there’s no need to delay in scheduling a free consultation. California car accident injury victims are afforded some of the most generous legal protections in the nation. As a result, even if you were partially at fault for what happened to you, you’re likely still in a strong position to pursue compensation from any other party whose negligence, recklessness, or intentionally dangerous conduct also directly contributed to the cause(s) of your harm.
Pure Comparative Negligence Model
As an experienced car accident attorney – including those who practice at Glotzer & Leib, LLP – can explain in greater detail as the information pertains to your case, the state of California honors a legal theory commonly referred to as pure comparative negligence. This legal theory holds that an accident injury victim remains empowered to hold others accountable for their harm, even if the accident victim themselves was up to 99% responsible for their own injurious circumstances.
This legal theory stands in stark contrast to the two other primary models utilized by a majority of states across the country. Most states limit the ability of an accident victim to seek damages from other responsible parties if the victim in question is 50% or more at fault for what happened to them. An extreme, yet small number, of states prohibit accident victims from pursuing damage awards at all if they are even 1% to blame for what happened to them.
California’s broad legal protections empower accident injury victims to seek the maximum amount of compensation that is rightfully theirs. With that said, there are circumstances under which it doesn’t make sense to pursue legal action when a victim shoulders a significant amount of blame for their own harm. The compensation award that a victim can pursue is directly reduced in proportion to the percentage of blame assigned to them. Say, for instance, that a victim’s harm is valued at $100,000 and they have been assigned 90% of the blame for the circumstances that led to that harm. Investing time, energy, and legal fees into pursuing the remaining $10,000 from another responsible party may or may not be worth that particular victim’s efforts.
If Your Crash Was Work-Related
It is worth noting that you won’t need to concern yourself with issues of fault and causation if you’re in a place to apply for workers’ compensation benefits as a result of your crash. As long as you’re eligible for workers’ compensation coverage and your crash was work-related, you should remain entitled to collect these benefits even if your crash was your fault. This is because, unlike the personal injury lawsuit process, the workers’ compensation system is not fault-based. Unless you were drunk, high, or trying to get hurt, the system likely won’t be concerned with what or who caused your accident.