Many car crashes aren’t completely the fault of one driver. It may seem like the other driver is 100% to blame. However, if there was something the other driver could have done to avoid the crash (like looking both ways before entering an intersection even if they had the right-of-way), insurers could decide that they have some degree of fault.
What difference does this make when you’re seeking compensation from the (primarily) at-fault driver? That depends on the laws of the state you’re in. States have different negligence rules that govern how much compensation can be collected in any kind of personal injury case.
Pure comparative negligence
California follows the “pure comparative” negligence rule. Here’s a simplified example to show what that means. Say your damages for a crash are determined to be $100,000. If the at-fault driver was 100% at fault, they’d have to pay $100,000. However, say you’ve been determined to bear 10% of the blame. That means you would only be eligible to collect $90,000.
While some states place a cap on the amount of damages people can collect on any kind of personal injury claim, in most cases, California has no such cap. That’s important if you suffered very serious injuries that result in extensive medical bills and a great deal of money in lost wages.
You can be certain that if there’s even the slightest question about whether another driver was entirely to blame for your crash, their insurance company and their legal representative, if they have one, will seek to limit their degree of assigned fault as much as possible. That’s why it’s crucial to get as much evidence as possible to limit your degree of fault.
The police report, on-scene video and photos, witness statements and nearby surveillance camera footage can all be used to support your case. Having experienced legal guidance can help you maximize your claim so that you get the compensation to which you’re entitled.