ClickCease 50/50 at Fault Accidents | Information You Should Know

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California 50/50 Fault Car Accidents

Can Multiple Parties Be Found at Fault in a Car Accident?

The driver who is found liable for causing a car accident will typically be the one who ends up being responsible for having to pay damages for the harm they have caused to the victims of an accident. 

However, there are times where the fault is not  exactly clear and more than one individual may be held responsible for the crash. Extensive review and analysis is conducted to ensure that a suitable punishment is administered to those involved in the incident.

Who Determines Fault?

The insurance companies who insured the drivers in the accident are the ones that determine who is at fault. They distribute a relative percentage of fault to each party based on the driver’s behavior during the initial impact. In the state of California, this is known as comparative liability. 

The claims adjuster will determine the degree of fault based on the circumstances tied to the accident. Overall, insurance adjusters will have to look to state laws to get an idea of which driver(s) acted negligently, as well as how to distribute liability. 

In some cases, insurance companies may pay an appropriate portion of the insured driver’s share. An example could be: Company X has a driver who is 60 percent at fault while Company Y has a driver who is 40 percent at fault. Company X may pay 60 percent of the settlement while Company Y pays the amount of 40 percent. 

It is possible that insurance adjusters may work with their clients to figure out the most suitable percentage of fault for each party involved. Drivers could of course advocate to get the lowest percentage of fault with the help of their legal counsel. However, if there is no agreement between the insurance adjuster and the driver, then it is up to the court to decide who is primarily at fault for the incident and to what degree.

Factors Affecting Fault

Insurance adjusters are expected to review various forms of information to get an idea of who is mostly at fault. Factors they consider will include:

  • Reviewing police reports. 
  • Photographs of the incident. 
  • Witness statements.

Types of Negligence Laws

  • Contributory Negligence In states that abide by contributory negligence laws, a person who was injured because of their own negligence is not expected to collect any damages from the other party who was accused of causing the accident. Someone who is severely injured from implementing even a slight level of negligence would not be able to collect damages, even against a highly negligent defendant. Take the following example: on a two way street, a drunk driver is speeding in one lane while another driver is driving at normal speed in the lane of traffic going in the opposite direction Then the second driver who was not speeding goes slightly over the central-line, causing the two cars to crash. This second driver, who only contributed a slight amount of negligence, will be prevented from receiving any money for injuries or losses sustained from the accident. This is regardless of the fact that the first driver was driving under the influence.
  • Comparative Negligence The responsibility and available damages are primarily based on the negligence of each party involved in the accident.  Take the following example: a driver  is speeding while an oncoming car is ahead of them. The car ahead fails to make a signal to turn left. However, they proceed to make the turn regardless of not signalling, thus contributing to negligence. The driver who making  the left turn isn’t capable of predicting the speeding driver’s speed. A car crash occurs and the driver who didn’t turn their left signal on is seriously hurt. That injured driver’s damages, for example, will decrease by the percentage of their failure to appropriately judge the speed of the oncoming driver who contributed to causing the accident and for failing to signal. 

Available Damages

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out of pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries. 

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out of pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain And Suffering
  • Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life
  • Other Non-Economic Damages

Punitive Damages

The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in 5% of all verdicts.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we offer experienced attorneys that are readily available to help you get the justice and the maximum compensation you deserve. If we do not win, you owe us nothing. There is no financial risk when making a free consultation to get your case started. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] for immediate legal assistance.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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