Pure Comparative Negligence FAQ

Can You Get Paid Damages Even if You're Also At Fault?

Yes, you can! Sometimes two or more acts or failures to act will combine in an accident. Unless the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the wreck, some states would rule in the defendant's favor.

Case dismissed. But in California, we use pure comparative negligence rules. So here, your award is simply reduced based upon your percentage of fault.

For example, A and B are in a car crash. A is following too closely, and rear ends B. But imagine B exits the car in traffic. And then a CHP cruiser runs B over. So B dies. The jury would award the survivors of B for the vehicle damage and whiplash. But B's estate would need to sue the CHP for the death.

However, getting out of a car in oncoming traffic would mean that B was partially at fault. Hence, under pure comparative negligence principles, the jury may find B 50% at the blame. So if the court awards B 1 million dollars against the CHP, the family would only get 500 thousand dollars.

Is this making sense so far? (If you're confused, go here to read more about pure comparative negligence in an automobile accident case.)