Pure Comparative Fault’s Definition and Examples
In a typical auto accident case, the at-fault party’s insurance company provides coverage for the other party’s damages, the amount of which is determined through negotiations or by a jury at the end of a trial. But what happens when the claimant or plaintiff is partially at fault? How is compensation distributed then?
Pure comparative fault, also referred to as pure comparative negligence, is a legal doctrine used in 13 states, including California. It allows claimants to collect for damages even if they are 99 percent at fault. However, their compensation amount is reduced by their degree of fault. This rule applies in all different types of auto accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
The following example illustrates how pure comparative fault applies:
Jon was driving inebriated when he hit Alex, who was crossing the street as a pedestrian. Alex sustained multiple bone fractures. He demanded a total of $50,000 in compensation for his medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and for his pain and suffering, claiming that Jon was 100 percent at fault because he was driving drunk at the time of the incident. The insurance company proposed a counteroffer of $40,000. They justified the 20 percent reduction by telling Alex that he had crossed in the middle of the street instead of using a crosswalk and thus was 20 percent at fault. They based this percentage estimation on past claims and lawsuits with similar circumstances.
Here’s another example:
Sally waited in the left-turn lane at an intersection until she received the signal to go. As she was making the left turn, Bryan, who was going in opposite direction, failed to stop at the intersection due to being distracted by his smartphone, and proceeded to collide into Sally’s vehicle. Fortunately, both were driving at relatively slow speeds. Bryan came away without a scratch, while Sally, who was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, suffered a minor concussion after her head struck the wheel. She sued Bryan for $10,000, but the jury gave her $9,000 after determining that wearing the seatbelt could have mitigated the damages caused by Bryan’s negligence.
If you have any questions about your auto accident injury case, please feel free to contact the experienced California car crash lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm for immediate assistance. We can investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident, analyze the evidence to establish the facts of your case, and develop a strong case for fair compensation. To learn more about your rights and legal options in a FREE consultation, call us today at (800) 522-7274.