Negligence is defined as a failure to exercise appropriate and or ethical ruled care expected to be exercised amongst specified circumstances. The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm and injuries caused by failing to act as a form of carelessness possibly with extenuating circumstances.
California negligence laws follow the legal doctrine of “comparative negligence,” where a plaintiff is allowed to sue for the percentage of damages attributable to the defendant.
Comparative negligence fall into three categories;
- Pure Contributory Negligence – This concept is used to characterize conduct that creates an unreasonable risk to one’s self. In this system, injured parties may not collect damages if they are as little as one percent to blame for the incident. This legal rule is applicable in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
- Pure Comparative Negligence – In a pure comparative negligence system, a person’s percentage of negligence reduces their recovery by that percentage, regardless of whether it is 1%, 99%, or somewhere in between. In a situation where a person is 99% at fault and sustains $100,000 in damages will still be entitled to a judgment of $1,000. This comparative fault system is used in several states including California, Florida, and New York.
- Modified Comparative Fault – This legal model is followed in the majority of the states in the US. In this system, a plaintiff will not recover if they’re found to be either equally responsible or more responsible for the resulting injury. In order to recover damages, the plaintiff must not be more than 50% at fault for the resulting injury.
To prevail on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove the following;
- The defendant owed a duty toward the plaintiff.
- The defendant failed to act in a reasonable way or breached its duty.
- The defendant’s breach was the actual cause of another’s injuries
- The defendant’s breach was the proximate cause of the injuries.
- The plaintiff suffered actual injuries, for which they may claim damages.