What happens if the other driver and I were both at fault for the accident?
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you may be worried about the overwhelming medical costs and other expenses. Your first priority is to seek medical attention for your injuries; however, at some point, you need to think about how you are going to pay the medical bills and receive compensation for your lost wages and other damages. This may be more difficult if you were partially at fault for the accident — but not impossible.
The personal injury attorneys of Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law help those who have been injured due to negligence of another receive the compensation they deserve. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced automobile accident attorneys to discuss how we can help you.
How Does Being Partially at Fault for the Car Accident Affect My Compensation?
In some states, if you are at fault for even a small fraction of an automobile accident, you will not be able to collect compensation for your injuries. In other states, you cannot be over 50% at fault for the accident or you are barred from collecting compensation. However, California is a comparative negligence state; therefore, drivers who are at fault for an accident may still collect compensation but it may be limited.
Under the theory of comparative negligence, if a driver is at fault for an accident, his or her settlement should be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to that driver. As discussed above, some states bar drivers from collecting any compensation if they are over 50% liable for the accident. In California, you can be 90% liable for the accident and still be eligible to receive 10% of your damages as compensation for your injuries.
For example, if it is determined that you are 10% at fault for the accident, your settlement amount or jury verdict will be reduced by 10%. If your damages total $50,000, you will receive $45,000 from the insurance company ($50,000 less 10%). This allows drivers who may be partially at fault for an accident to recover some of the damages he or she sustained as a result of the accident.
Proving Liability is Vital
Insurance companies like to use any reason they can find to lower the amount of money they must pay on a claim. They will use the theory of comparative negligence to claim the accident victim should only receive a partial settlement because he or she contributed to the accident by speeding, texting, or failing to yield the right of way. Whatever reason the insurance company can use, it will do so to lower your settlement.
The automobile accident attorneys of Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law have extensive experience handling personal injury claims. We have the resources and the skills to conduct a thorough investigation to identify and preserve key evidence to prove the other driver was wholly or partially at fault for the accident. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss the options available to you.