What is California’s Negligence Law - Adamson Ahdoot

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Understanding California’s Negligence Law

December 13, 2022 Alan Ahdoot
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Many personal injury cases are often caused by negligence or carelessness, which result in situations wherein a person is injured, or property is damaged. According to the new laws, in order to prove that someone is at fault for an accident, you must follow California’s Negligence Law.

To prove that someone has been negligent, the victim must present evidence that a company or individual is responsible for causing them harm or injury through careless actions. 

Acts performed below a certain standard of care may include anything from elderly neglect to medical malpractice. In most circumstances, a case must be established for the court to determine fault. 

Negligence law can be difficult to navigate on your own. A California personal injury lawyer is a valuable ally in pursuing the compensation you deserve.

What is the Negligence Law in California?

Let a personal injury lawyer help you navigate the intricacies of California’s negligence law

California’s negligence law states that any individual or group that fails to provide the appropriate level of care to another party may be considered to have committed a negligent act.

These cases in California involve the standard of comparative fault, which is utilized to mete out liability between the parties involved, regardless of who is responsible. 

What Are the 4 Elements of Negligence in California?

The elements of negligence are divided into four categories used to determine fault in a personal injury case in California. These elements must be established to prove that the guilty party acted negligently.

Duty of care

The victim must prove that the guilty party was legally responsible for their care, such as a doctor, a patient, a store owner, and a customer. For instance, bus drivers need to be fit to ensure the safety of their passengers.

Breach of duty

A breach of duty means that the at-fault party did not act as reasonably or carefully as a normal person would. For instance, if a doctor fails to provide instructions for post-op care and the patient suffers from surgical complications.


The victim must illustrate how the person’s breach of duty caused them harm. For example, if the injured party slipped and fell on a broken staircase step in the mall, breaking their hip bone. In this case, the injury occurred because the property owners failed to maintain the staircase. 


Damages pertain to the losses of the affected party due to negligence. This includes medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. The court determines whether the plaintiff qualifies for compensation for the injuries sustained.

Below are the different types of damages one may receive from a personal injury case:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are verifiable monetary losses, such as lost wages, medical expenses, maintenance and repair costs, and loss of business opportunities.

Non-economic Damages

Intangible losses are subjective, non-monetary losses. This includes inconvenience, suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of society and companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life. 

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, is compensation paid on top of compensatory damages to punish especially harmful behavior. The court has the discretion to give them, and they are available in a few specific circumstances.

Understanding California’s Pure Comparative Negligence System

California is not a no-fault state. Instead, it follows a “Pure Comparative Negligence” system. This means that both parties may have to compensate for damages depending on their percentage of fault in the accident. 

For example, one party can be 1% liable while the other is 99% responsible for the accident. The state will deduct compensation according to the individual’s percentage of fault.

California Statute of Limitations for Negligence Cases

California, like most states, has a statute of limitations for negligence cases. This refers to an eligibility timeline for cases to be brought up in court. Personal injury and property damage cases carry a statute of 2 years, after which the case is no longer viable. However, if someone dies, the deadline starts from the date of death.

This timeframe decreases considerably if the defendant is a public business or a private institution. Cases involving professor malpractice have a limitation of only 1 year. With this in mind, filing your case as soon as possible is important to avoid issues.

Why Trust Adamson Ahdoot?

Are you looking to file a personal injury claim? At Adamson Ahdoot, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our California-based firm has more than 100 years of combined experience, so you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands.

We’re here to help you every step of the way, and our skilled and compassionate lawyers can assist you in navigating the complexities of your case.

Seek Proper Legal Advice From Personal Injury Lawyers

An experienced attorney can help you with your negligence case. Adamson Ahdoot is a sharp and savvy law firm with a clear goal: To help you and your loved ones seek justice.

We display the core values of aggressive advocacy and unwavering support for our clients. Call us at (800) 310-1606 today to schedule your free consultation with a premier injury attorney in English or Spanish.

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Our team can better advise you on your legal options once we receive any available evidence about the incident.

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