Can I seek compensation for my injuries if I was the driver at fault?
Being in an automobile accident is a terrible experience, especially if the accident resulted in injuries to the drivers and/or passengers. Accidents are just that – an “accident.” Even though some drivers are negligent by driving while distracted, speeding, driving under the influence, or driving recklessly, no one ever intends to cause an accident. Unfortunately, automobile accidents do occur and someone must pay for the damages caused by the accident.
The personal injury attorneys of Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law represent victims of automobile accidents to help them recover compensation for their injuries. In some cases, the at-fault driver is entitled to receive compensation for his or her injuries regardless of the fact that the driver was at fault for the accident. If you have questions about recovering damages in an automobile accident, contact our Riverside, California office to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.
California’s Comparative Negligence Law
Most people assume that if they are at fault for an automobile accident, they are not entitled to receive compensation for their injuries. While this may be the case if you are 100% at fault for the accident, there may be a chance for you to recover damages depending on the percentage of fault assigned to each driver. In other words, if you are wholly responsible for the accident, you may not be compensated for your injuries; however, if you are only partly responsible for the accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the insurance company for your injuries.
According to the legal theory of comparative negligence, which is used in California in personal injury claims, if the injured is partially at fault for the accident, the compensation he or she receives should be reduced by their percentage of fault for the accident. For example, if it is determined that you were 80% responsible for causing an accident in which your damages total $10,000, you may be entitled to receive compensation for 20% of your damages ($2,000). The amount of your award is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the accident.
Proving Liability in an Automobile Accident
Sometimes it is clear who is at fault in an automobile accident; however, this is not always the case. When liability is an issue, so is determining the percentage of fault for comparative negligence. The less you are at fault the more the other driver is liable for your injuries.
In an accident involving serious injuries and a high total of damages, we may need to employ experts to determine the comparative percentage of fault of the drivers. This may be to your advantage depending on the circumstances of the accident and your level of damages.
Because each case is unique, we must evaluate your case to determine the best course of action to take to get you the best results possible. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your case in detail.