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COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE OR FAULT IN CALIFORNIA

1. Comparative Negligence / Fault

In personal injury cases, sometimes an issue develops as to fault in causing the injury-producing incident.   Even where the Defendant is determined to be negligent and liable, the Plaintiff (injured party) may, in certain cases, be considered partly or significantly negligent in causing the injury-producing event.  In such cases, Plaintiff's recovery is reduced by the percentage that the Plaintiff is determined to be at fault

(Example: A case has a value of $10,000.  The Defendant is determined to be 60% at fault and Plaintiff 40% at fault.  The recovery is reduced by the percentage Plaintiff is at fault, that is, by 40% or $4,000.  Plaintiff therefore receives $6,000).


2. California Changed From Contributory Negligence To “Comparative” Proportional Fault.

In California, contributory negligence, if any, on the part of the plaintiff (injured, damaged person) does not bar (preclude, prevent) a recovery by the plaintiff against the defendant.  It is no longer a complete defense. 

But instead, the total amount of damages that the plaintiff would otherwise be entitled shall be reduced in proportion to the amount (percentage) of negligence attributable to the plaintiff. (Li v. Yellow Cab (1975) 13 Cal.3d 804).

 Disclaimer

 Author: Attorney Matthew B. Tozer
 
Copyright 2012

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