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Negligence is defined as the failure to act in response to a duty that you owe someone. For example, a customer can sue you for negligence if he or she slips and falls on your business property. As a property owner, you have the duty to ensure the safety of the people visiting your business.

In the state of California, the negligence laws are fairly complicated. They lean heavily on the legal doctrines of the comparative negligence statutes, where the plaintiff sues the defendant for the damage percentage attributed to him or her.

Filing for Negligence

The complainant is expected to have a strong case, and its success is dependent on the evidence provided and the competency of the personal injury lawyers. Just like in other states, the California negligence laws require the plaintiff to demonstrate the elements of negligence in court:

  • The defendant was duty-bound to commit or not to commit the act.
  • The defendant acted negligently by breaching his or her duty.
  • It’s due to the defendant’s negligence that the plaintiff suffered the injury or injuries.
  • The defendant failed to foresee the possibility of the injury when he or she should have.
  • The plaintiff sustained actual damages, which might include loss of earnings, pain, suffering, and rehab costs.

The elements of negligence apply to a “reasonably prudent” Individual. This refers to how an average person in the same scenario would react. For instance, in a car accident, the injured plaintiff has to demonstrate to the court that the driver (who is the defendant) was reasonably prudent.

The jury will consider the skills, ability, and intelligence of the defendant.  When it comes to defining a reasonably prudent individual, minors are exempted. This is because the jury also considers the age of the offender in addition to experience. Therefore, the penalty for a minor is typically not as severe as that of an adult.

After the plaintiff has filed the complaint, the defendant is served with a legal summons.  He or she is expected to respond to it within 30 days. This is followed by the hearing and settlement. Most cases are settled here, and both parties go home happy. In case both parties fail to agree, the case proceeds to trial. In court, both parties have to pull up their strong evidence to win the case. The competence of their legal teams are judged at this stage, and the smartest attorneys take the day.

What Happens with Multiple Causes?

At times, it happens that the injury suffered by the plaintiff is due to more than one cause. In such a situation, the jury considers both parties negligent, but must determine the percentages of their faults.

This helps them determine the awarding of the compensation and how much each offender is liable for. If the victim is found to be partly responsible for the injury, the jury will have to determine the extent.

However, this does not mean that the plaintiff should be denied compensation. On the contrary, California negligence laws demand that he or she is compensated for the damages suffered, though in a reduced percentage.

Bottom Line

In California, the negligence laws consider lots of legal theories and intricate matters. If you are a defendant or a complainant in a negligence case, your success in court depends on the pieces of evidence that you provide. It also depends on your legal representation. Therefore, it’s wise to consult and hire the best team of lawyers to defend you.