Comparative Negligence in California Premises Liability Cases
Comparative negligence is a legal standard that applies in personal injury cases when the blame for the accident and injuries in question may be shared by both the plaintiff (the injured party) and the defendant (the liable party).
In general, comparative negligence can apply to premises liability cases when the unsafe or risky conditions at a property cause harm but these conditions are considered to have been obvious and avoidable by a reasonable person.
While some states have modified comparative negligence laws, California recognizes “pure” comparative negligence. This means that parties in the state can still be entitled to damage awards even if they were as much as 99 percent at fault for an accident.
When Comparative Negligence Arises in Premises Liability Cases
Although a variety of circumstances can end up triggering comparative negligence in premises liability cases, some specific examples can include when someone:
- Trips over a large, clearly visible object
- Tries to climb stairs or ladders that are clearly broken
- Attempts to traverse areas that obviously icy, treacherous or in disrepair
- Enters areas that are clearly under construction or are being demolished.
Applying Comparative Negligence: Assigning Fault Percentages
When the standard of comparative negligence comes into play in a premises liability case, the court will hear the case and then determine the fault percentages for each party. The percentages will be allocated according to how negligent the court finds each party to have been in causing the accident.
For example, a court could rule that, in a trip and fall case when the injured person should have been reasonably able to avoid the accident, the plaintiff is 25 percent at fault, and the defendant is 75 percent at fault.
In this example, the plaintiff would then be accountable for covering 25 percent of the defendant’s damages while the defendant would be liable for 75 percent of the plaintiff’s damages.
Contact the Law Offices of Pius Joseph
Have you been hurt on an unsafe property? If so, contact a Pasadena personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Pius Joseph for vigorous representation and effective legal advocacy moving forward. Going the extra mile for clients for nearly 30 years, our lawyers are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights, advancing their interests and helping them successfully navigate the legal process.
From offices based in Pasadena, we provide superior representation and service to injured people throughout Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Orange County, San Diego County and the state of California.