In California, the law employs the notion of “comparative negligence.” That means one party or another doesn’t necessarily have to be 100% at fault. In other words, California law recognizes that sometimes, both parties might share in the blame. Then it becomes a matter of how much fault each party shares. This is not a scientific matter. We won’t know “precisely” but we often have to estimate fault. For example one person might be 60% at fault and the other would be 40% at fault. It could be 70/30 or any other combination. If the plaintiff is at fault, his/her recovery would be reduced by the amount of fault they share. For example, if a case is worth $100,000, and the plaintiff is 50% at fault, his/her settlement (or verdict if in trial) would be $50,000.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,