Getting a settlement check as quickly as possible after you’ve been injured in an accident is essential. When your medical bills pile up, it can be overwhelming to feel the financial burden of your accident weighing on you while you’re also dealing with the physical and emotional burden of recovery. If you shared fault in your wreck, you may wonder whether you’re allowed to take legal action.
Every state has different negligence laws that determine whether you can recover compensation for your injuries based on your percentage of fault in an accident. Some states have contributory negligence laws that bar anyone who contributed even one percent of fault to an accident from obtaining a settlement.
Many states have modified comparative negligence laws that allow victims to recover compensation as long as they were less than 49 or 50 percent at fault for the accident. California, however, has one of the most lenient negligence laws known as pure comparative negligence.
Understanding Comparative Negligence
If you shared fault in a California accident, you’re in luck, because California’s pure comparative negligence law allows anyone involved in an accident to recover compensation for their damages regardless of the percentage of fault they contributed to the wreck. In both modified and pure comparative negligence states, however, the court deducts the victim’s percentage of fault from their overall claim value.
For example, if you’re 20 percent at fault for your accident and your claim is valued at $100,000, you’ll ultimately receive $80,000. With pure comparative negligence laws, the key is to determine whether taking legal action is worth it.
Determining Whether a Lawsuit Is Worth the Time
To determine whether filing a lawsuit is worth your time, you must calculate your percentage of fault and the value of your damages. Once you know these numbers, you can deduct your percentage of fault from your claim value to estimate the outcome of your case. If your percentage of fault is high and the value of your damages is low, filing a lawsuit may not make sense.
If you were 80 percent at fault for your accident, for instance, and your damages are valued at $8,000, you’ll only receive $1,600. You must decide, in this instance, whether pursuing a settlement is worth it.
Having an experienced attorney may be helpful because they can account for every damage you’ve suffered and try to increase the value of your claim while also negotiating with the judge to lower your percentage of fault. Thankfully, in California, you have the flexibility to file a claim and assess various outcomes regardless of whether you shared fault in your wreck.