One of the primary purposes of personal injury litigation is to give plaintiffs an opportunity to obtain compensation for injuries they suffer as a result of the negligence of another party. Building a strong personal injury case, therefore, depends on being able to demonstrate that the other party acted negligently and on connecting that negligence to the plaintiff's damages.
But what about personal injury cases where the plaintiff was at least partially at fault for his or her own injuries? What impact would that have on his or her damages? Different states have different approaches to this issue, but in California the solution is known as "pure comparative fault."
Pure comparative fault refers to the legal principle that an injured party may have his or her damages reduced in proportion to his or her own contribution to the injuries, but there is ultimately no bar placed on that recovery. In other words, no matter how much a plaintiff is found to have contributed to his or her own injuries, he or she may still recover some damages from defendants in proportion to their collective contribution to those injuries.
One thing to keep in mind about California law, though, is that defendants may only be held liable for their own proportionate responsibility for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. The same is not true for economic damages, though: defendants may be held jointly liable for medical bills, lost wages and other economic losses.
Sorting out liability and damages in cases involving multiple defendants is not always an easy task, and it is important for crash victims to work with an experienced attorney to ensure they receive the best advocacy in their case. Our firm is committed to helping protect the rights and interests of accident victims and achieving a just recovery in their case.