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What if I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?

Some personal injury accidents may place liability on both parties involved. When this is the case, what can this mean for your claim? If you were found to be partially at fault for an accident in California, you may still be able to recover some compensation. How does this work? We will explore the answers now!

What Laws Does California Uphold Regarding Fault for an Accident? 

Because personal injury incidents are based on proving liability, things may get tricky if you as the injured party were also deemed to be partially at fault. However, you may still be entitled to damages. California is a comparative negligence (also known as comparative fault) state. 

This means that any injury party deemed to a certain extent partially at fault for the accident can still recover some compensation. Not all states work like this. In fact, states like Nevada uphold a law that deems people who are 51% or more at fault are unable to attempt to recover damages. 

Under California’s law of negligence, a driver found at fault may find their settlement amount reduced to match the degree of liability. So if your claim settlement amount is $40,000 but you are found to be 50% liable for the accident, then the amount would be reduced by 50% and you would obtain $20,000.

How to Prove Liability of the Other Party? 

Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, it is still your duty to prove the liability of the other driver. Luckily, this can be done with various forms of evidence. In order to have a strong personal injury claim, you must set out to prove that: 

 

  • The other party owed a duty of care to you
  • The duty was breached by the defendant 
  • You were injured as a direct result of the breach of care by the defendant

 

Without being able to prove the mentioned facts, you pretty much do not have a strong personal injury case. In order to be able to prove the other party’s liability and your resulting injuries, it is best to have a variety of supporting evidence, such as medical records, photos or videos of the accident scene, eyewitness accounts, etc. 

What are Some Common Examples of Being Partially at Fault?

You are wondering if you could be deemed partially at fault for the initial accident that left you injured. What are some of the most common examples that result in other injured drivers being ruled partially at fault? This may occur if at the time of the incident, you were found to be: 

 

 

If the defendant is able to prove you were engaging in any of the behaviors mentioned above, you may find yourself placed partially at fault for the accident. However, do not let this deter you from your personal injury claim. If the other party failed their own duty of care as a driver, you are still eligible to file a claim for compensation.

What Should I Do After the Accident? 

If you were just involved in a vehicle accident, you may find yourself frozen. Feelings of stress, adrenaline, and other emotions may cloud your judgment. However, there are a few steps to take after an accident that are crucial for your personal injury case. 

  • Call the Police

The first thing you must do is get the proper authorities involved. It does not matter if the other driver thinks the damage is minimal or that you can communicate on your own. In fact, consider keeping all communication with the other driver(s) involved neutral and to a minimum. By calling the police, you will likely get a police record that details the accident and can help with proving liability. 

  • Take Photos and/or Videos

It is key to document the scene of the accident. Taking photos and videos of the road, your vehicle, and any visible injuries sustained. Clear photos and videos can really boost your personal injury case.

  • Get Eyewitness Information

If there are other drivers at the scene of the accident, consider getting their contact information for later reference. Eyewitness accounts of an accident can provide a clear unbiased recollection of events. Some drivers also have dash cams in their vehicles, so there may be video footage of your accident in someone’s hands that could majorly help your case. 

  • Seek Medical Attention

No matter how big or small the accident was, always make sure you seek the proper medical attention in the aftermath. Some injuries may not show symptoms until some time after the accident, or adrenaline may cloud pain at the time of the accident. Make sure you seek medical attention in a timely manner and follow the doctor’s treatment plans for your injuries. Because injury is a vital factor in a personal injury case, it is essential to not delay seeing a medical professional to learn more about your injuries. 

  • Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer

The next step after an accident is to sit down with a personal injury lawyer. Many lawyers provide free consultations, so you can sit down with a legal expert and see whether you have a strong personal injury case. A personal injury attorney can walk you through the process of filing a claim, let you know possible compensation, and put you on the right path to developing a strong case with supporting evidence. 

 

After an accident, it is always recommended you don’t leave the scene quickly, delay medical attention, or go into an insurance negotiation without preparation or legal aid. By taking the right steps after a vehicle accident, you can be confident in pursuing the right financial compensation for your injuries and other damages. 

Will A Personal Injury Attorney Still Consult My Case if I am Partially at Fault? 

Some injured parties are self-conscious about consulting with a personal injury lawyer after an accident if they are partially at fault. However, do not let this deter you. Even if you were found partially at fault for an accident in California, you are still entitled to compensation for any damages that were a direct result. As long as you are able to prove the liability of the other driver, you have a personal injury case. 

The compensation you obtain from your personal injury claim can cover medical expenses, loss of wages from being unable to work, medical treatment, future injury care, decreased quality of life from the injury, and more. Though your compensation may be reduced considering how much liability is placed on you, the fact of the matter is that you will likely still receive an amount to help with the costs after the accident. 

Are you interested in filing a personal injury case? Is the other party’s insurance company failing to negotiate, or have they denied your claim? Consult with a San Diego personal injury attorney to learn more about how to file a personal injury claim and start on the path toward possible financial compensation today!

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