How Can Comparative Negligence Laws Help My Personal Injury Claim?

If you were injured in a car accident due to little or no fault of your own, you should not have to worry about paying your bills alone. Read on to find out how comparative negligence laws can benefit your personal injury claim and how one of the knowledgeable Santa Clara County car accident attorneys can help you with receiving financial recovery.

What are the comparative negligence laws in New York?

The state of California follows a no-fault car insurance system. This will cover certain car accident damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, regardless of whether or not you were at fault for the crash. It is important to note that Personal Injury Protection, is not a mandatory form of insurance in California, so the full extent of your bills may not be covered. This makes it even more crucial that you employ a seasoned Santa Clara County auto accident attorney today.

California is a pure comparative fault state, which holds each party liable for the role they played in the accident. Under these rules, you can always recover compensation from the other party’s insurance company, even if you were 99% at fault.

However, the amount of compensation you will receive will be reduced to account for your role in the accident. For example, if the jury awards $100,000 in damages, but finds you were 20% responsible for the accident, you’re entitled to 80%, i.e. $80,000. Contrastingly, if you were found to be primarily responsible, at 80%, you are still entitled to 20% of the damages, but you will be responsible for 80% of the other driver’s damages.

How is fault determined and proven in a car accident?

In a personal injury case, the jury will decide what percentage of your own negligence contributed to the injuries brought on by the car accident. Fault is commonly based on traffic law violations, such as running a red light, turning at a no-turn on red, speeding, or otherwise neglecting traffic signs. The following are other frequent examples:

  • Hitting a car from behind.
  • Making comments admitting or implying personal blame after the accident.
  • Displaying a level of impairment due to drugs or alcohol.
  • Failing to keep a proper lookout due to distracted driving.

It is important that you document your role in the accident clearly so that you can minimize any fault assigned to you. To prove the other party’s negligence, it is helpful to collect photos or videos of the accident, statements from eyewitnesses, and police reports, and to listen if the other party makes comments admitting or implying personal blame after the accident.

How long do I have to file my personal injury claim?

To ensure that you obtain the compensation you require for your injuries, it is important that you file your personal injury claim within California’s statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of your accident.


When someone is wrongly injured in an accident, they often require financial compensation to heal. That’s where we come in. Contact the Law Offices of Brian J. O’Grady today to learn more about what our firm can do for you.