Your Trusted Attorney 

For Personal Injury, Business Disputes Or Landlord/Tenant Issues

The conundrum of pure comparative negligence laws

While fewer cars traveled the roads in 2020, that didn’t stop the costs of motor vehicle accidents from reaching the mid-six figures. Collision expenses combining property damage, serious injuries, and fatalities approached close to $500 billion nationwide.

Drivers may believe that they were not responsible for the collisions that occurred. However, insurance companies may have a different take when it comes to comparative negligence laws that play a factor in determining fault in motor vehicle insurance claims.

Profiting from fault?

California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that those injured in the accident who are fully or partially to blame can still collect damages even if they are 99 percent at fault. The Golden State is part of a 12-state contingent that has similar laws, including:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

Both drivers involved in a collision can seek compensation for the damages they suffered, regardless of their level of responsibility in causing the crash. Being 99 percent accountable in California and states with similar laws means that the motor vehicle operator who did nothing to cause the accident other than just being at the wrong place at the wrong time is still considered partially accountable.

Even if the other driver was distracted by their smartphone, only to rear-end the car in front of them, they can still file a claim with their insurer that would provide compensation per the insurance policy. Conversely, modified comparative negligence would see them likely exceeding the 50 percent limit, barring any damages received by the other driver’s insurance provider.

The most attentive defensive drivers can find themselves involved in accidents. While some are fender-benders, others are more serious and require the help of a personal injury attorney to maximize the compensation that they are entitled to under the law.