While the circumstances surrounding every car accident may differ, one thing is almost always true: negligence contributed the accident. Negligence is often the basis of many personal injury lawsuits filed following a motor vehicle accident. In most cases, an injured party is seeking damages from another party for the medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other injuries and damages they suffered as a result of the accident.
What is negligence?
Proving that another party is liable for your accident will likely require you to prove the four elements of negligence. Proving negligence requires:
- Duty – Under California law, motorists owe a duty to other motorists, as well as pedestrians, to operate their vehicles safely and in accordance with the law.
- Breach of duty – Victims must show that another party breached its duty who fail to abide by traffic laws or drive their vehicles recklessly
- Causation – Victims must show that the other party’s negligence directly and proximately caused the accident and the victim’s injuries and damages.
- Damages – Victim must prove their accident-related injuries and damages.
What if I am partially negligent?
An accident is often caused by the negligence of multiple parties. As a pure comparative negligence state, California allows for injured parties to recover damages even if they are partially at-fault for the accident. However, damages will be reduced in accordance with the percentage of fault apportioned to the victim. A victim who is awarded $100,000 in medical expenses and is 40 percent at fault for an accident, will only receive $60,000.
For more information on filing a negligence claim after a car accident, consult with a personal injury attorney in your area.