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Can I Still Recover Damages if a Car Accident Was My Fault?

When involved in a car accident or similar event, emotions run high. You may find yourself dealing with a number of expensive repairs and lasting injuries. Personal injury cases help injured people possibly recover compensation when it comes to the damages of an accident. But what happens if you’re a liable party that had a hand in causing the accident? 

Most personal injury cases deal with one liable party, but what if the injured can also be held accountable? Can you still recover damages? We will explore this and your legal options now.

Can I Still Get Compensation if I’m At Fault in a Car Accident? 

To understand whether you can recover damages after being at-fault for a car accident, it’s important to understand the laws of the state you reside in. In this case, we’ll take a look at the law California operates under. California is a comparative negligence state. Comparative negligence (also known as comparative fault) means damages can be divided between multiple parties responsible for causing an accident.

 

Because of this, injured individuals are not barred from recovering compensation regardless of the level of fault for the cause of the accident. In the state of California, you could be 50 percent at fault and still receive compensation. In fact, you could be up to 99 percent at fault and still possibly obtain 1 percent of compensation in damages. 

How Could Comparative Negligence Work in My Car Accident Case? 

Though you may be at fault in an accident, you could still be entitled to some compensation. It’s important to note that if you are 100 percent at fault for an accident, you will most likely not be able to obtain any compensation. However, if some degree of fault can be placed on the other driver, then you may be able to fight for compensation to account for damages. Comparative negligence laws in California work by reducing the amount of compensation you obtain for a personal injury claim when you are found to be partially at fault. 

Here’s a scenario on how comparative negligence may work. A driver failed to yield to you and slammed into your vehicle. However, you were found to be on your phone while driving, so it could be said you might have avoided the accident if you had not been distracted. In that case, the jury finds you 30 percent responsible for the cause of the accident. 

Your compensation amount would then be reduced by 30 percent. If you initially put in a personal injury claim seeking $10,000 in compensation, this would be reduced by 30 percent to give you $7,000 of recovered damages. 

Each accident is unique, so if you are interested in calculating the damages for your claim and just how much you may be able to recover in compensation amount, it is best to consult a personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys will take a look at your case and let you know what your chances of compensation may be, as well as to whether you have a strong case. 

How Can I Prove the Other Driver’s Liability in a Car Accident? 

An important question often asked is, how can you prove another driver’s liability? Proving another driver’s liability is a matter of having the right supporting evidence to back up your claim. Gathering evidence is vital to your case, and can often be done the same day as the accident. To collect evidence, a few things you can do after a car accident is:

 

  • Take pictures and/or videos of your injuries, vehicle, and the accident scene 
  • Get the contact information of other witnesses present at the scene that could provide a neutral clear account of the accident
  • Call the police and file a report
  • Get any injuries (no matter how minor) checked out
  • Start filing a claim with insurance right away (it is always recommended to file a claim in a timely manner) 
  • Consult with a professional personal injury attorney to discuss what your options are and what possible compensation could look like for you

 

Proving another driver’s liability can be a bit of a long process, but if you have the right evidence to support your claim, it can make everything much smoother. 

Other liable drivers may try to completely pin the accident on you. Because of this, there are some things you should never do at the scene of the accident, like:

  • Never admit fault under any circumstances. 
  • Do not discuss the accident or injuries with anyone else besides responding police officers at the scene and your personal injury attorney 
  • Do not post anything incriminating about the accident on social media, or post anything about the other driver, nature of the accident, etc. 
  • Do not give a written or recorded statement to an insurance adjuster without speaking to a personal injury lawyer first
  • Skip getting medical attention

Your personal injury claim is your attempt to hold the other driver or driver(s) liable and possibly obtain compensation. Make sure to have the right supporting evidence and work alongside an expert personal injury attorney to continue to push your claim onto stronger ground.

What Can I Count Toward Car Accident Damages? 

What can you receive compensation for? Some of the damages that can be claimed in a personal injury case include: 

  • Medical expenses, whether it be treatments, future care, in-home care, medications, and more. 
  • Car repairs, as these can be very pricey and can often be the turning point to making a vehicle usable again 
  • Loss of income, which can be particularly taxing if you cannot go into work for a long period of time due to injuries
  • Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, disability, and more

Damages encompass many expenses and other losses as a result of the accident. Even if you were found to have had some fault in the car accident or similar incident, this does not mean you should have to completely pay for your injuries out of your own pocket. Luckily, the state of California does recognize that more than one party in a claim can be held liable. This means you may be able to get possible compensation to cover your injuries, repairs, and keep you without financial stress as you may begin a lengthy recovery process. 

What Can I Count Toward Car Accident Damages? 

What can you receive compensation for? Some of the damages that can be claimed in a personal injury case include: 

  • Medical expenses, whether it be treatments, future care, in-home care, medications, and more. 
  • Car repairs, as these can be very pricey and can often be the turning point to making a vehicle usable again 
  • Loss of income, which can be particularly taxing if you cannot go into work for a long period of time due to injuries
  • Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, disability, and more

Damages encompass many expenses and other losses as a result of the accident. Even if you were found to have had some fault in the car accident or similar incident, this does not mean you should have to completely pay for your injuries out of your own pocket. Luckily, the state of California does recognize that more than one party in a claim can be held liable. This means you may be able to get possible compensation to cover your injuries, repairs, and keep you without financial stress as you may begin a lengthy recovery process. 

What Should I Do After A Car Accident if I Was At-Fault?

After finding yourself involved in a car accident, your adrenaline and emotions may be all over the place. Perhaps you don’t feel injured or you don’t want to get the police involved. Always be sure to get the police called and seek medical treatment. This can allow for recorded evidence of the incident and your possible injuries. 

If you were to some degree at-fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to receive compensation. As long as you are not completely 100 percent at fault, your chances at some compensation are still strong. The best thing you can do after the accident (besides seeking a police report and medical treatment) is to sit down with a personal injury lawyer today. This will help you learn more about the legal process and how to further build your personal injury claim.

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