Contributory Negligence

What is Contributory Negligence California?

When an accident occurs, there may be more than one cause. Two, three or even more people can all act in a way that makes an accident more likely to occur. Contributory negligence is the idea that an accident may have multiple causes. Multiple people may face legal liability for an accident, and multiple people may have a legal remedy after an accident. When more than one party is at fault for an accident, the concept of contributory negligence determines how to apportion blame.

What is contributory negligence in California?

Contributory negligence occurs when both a plaintiff and defendant are partially at fault for an accident. The concept of contributory negligence is that both parties may be legally responsible for the accident. The principles of the law apply in order to determine how to apportion fault and legal liability when there are multiple contributors to an accident.

Contributory negligence and bail bonds in California

Contributory negligence is relevant if a person has a pending criminal case and they need a bail bond. Even if a person is charged and convicted of a criminal offense, contributory negligence may still be relevant in a civil claim that arises from the same set of facts. If there is contributory negligence in the case, it may constitute a mitigating circumstance which may lower the amount of bond. If there are mitigating circumstances that may amount to civil contributory negligence, the same circumstances may be relevant to lower the amount of bond necessary in order to secure bail while awaiting trial on criminal charges.

When a defendant faces criminal charges, the court has the discretion to determine bond. Negotiating the appropriate bond requires tact and careful calculation of the right things to say. Contributory negligence is just one of the factors that may impact a bond decision in California.

How does contributory negligence work in California?

Contributory negligence works in California by apportioning fault as a percentage between the plaintiff and defendant. California is a pure comparative negligence state which means that the victim can recover for a percentage of their physical injuries and injuries to property no matter how much they are at fault for the accident. In California, contributory negligence vs comparative negligence is resolved in favor of comparative negligence. Even if a victim is 99 percent to blame, they may still receive a portion of their damages as compensation for the actions of others.

Example of comparative negligence in California

For example, two cars collide. The parties examine the contributory negligence car accident liability. One of the drivers contributes to the accident by driving at a high rate of speed. The other driver is driving under the influence of alcohol which slows their reaction. The jury decides that the speeding driver is 20 percent to blame and the driver under the influence is 80 percent to blame.

The speeding driver has physical injuries and injuries to property that total $10,000. Based on contributory negligence car accident rules in California, the speeding driver who is 20 percent to blame can recover for 80 percent of their damages or $8,000. The injured driver forfeits 20 percent of their damages because they are partially at fault for the accident. In a contributory negligence car accident case, the victim may recover their damages reduced by the percentage of fault that they have for the events that lead to the accident.

While many states prevent a victim from recovering if they are more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, California doesn’t have that rule. California law allows a victim to recover something even if their degree of fault is very high. In California, contributory negligence vs comparative negligence resolves in favor of the victim being able to apply comparative negligence regardless of their percentage of fault.

Who decides contributory negligence in California?

It’s up to the jury to decide what parties cause the accident. In some cases, contributory negligence is clear. In other cases, the jury must carefully examine the facts in order to determine liability. A victim may use witness statements, deposition testimony, admissions, expert witnesses and accident reconstruction in order to prove liability in the case. Proving liability in an accident depends on gathering the evidence to show the actions of each party involved in the accident. Contributory negligence can greatly impact the outcome of an accident claim.

Also Read: Legal Principle of Negligence

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