What if I’m Partially at Fault in My San Diego Car Accident?
Accidents happen all the time. Very rarely does a driver purposely get into a car accident. They’re almost always caused by negligence. And, very rarely is one driver 100% at fault for the crash. San Diego car accident lawyers understand this. They know that there’s a chance the defendant’s lawyer will try to argue that you were at fault. His insurance company may even deny your claim for this reason. If they think you were at fault for the crash, they may deny your claim. In some states, if you’re found to be partially at fault for your accident, you won’t be able to file a claim at all. In California, it’s a little different.
California follows something called comparative negligence. This means your car accident attorney in San Diego may have to prove that the other driver was more at fault than you were.
What is Comparative Negligence and How Does it Work?
Comparative negligence is a rule that says that you can only be held liable for your percentage of fault. So, if you sue someone for a car accident, they can’t be held 100% responsible for your damages unless they were 100% at fault. And since it’s almost impossible to prove that someone is 100% at fault, odds are, you won’t be able to recover all of your damages.
Your car accident attorney San Diego are used to this rule. Almost every case they handle requires them to prove that the other driver was at fault. As long as they can prove that you were less than 50% at fault, you should be able to recover something for your injuries.
According to comparative negligence law, your judgment or jury award will be reduced for your percentage of fault. So, if you’re found to be 30% at fault, your judgment will be reduced by 30%. That defendant will only be deemed liable for 70% of your damages.
When Does Comparative Negligence Apply?
Comparative negligence applies in a lot of car accident cases. For example, if you’re injured in a car crash, chances are, you were partially at fault. Attorneys have years of experience handling cases where this rule comes into play.
Let’s take a look at a couple of cases where comparative negligence may apply.
You’re on your way to work. You work the late shift and you’re running late. You were doing about 70 mph in a 60 mph zone. A guy who was out at the bar for the last five hours comes toward you and crashes into the side of your car. You end up with a broken neck and internal injuries. You’re out of work for 6 months and have over $500,000 in medical bills.
When you go to court, the defendant’s lawyer claims that you were at fault for the accident. He said that had you not been speeding, his client never would have hit you. You admit in court that you were doing at least ten miles over the speed limit.
The court may find that you were partially at fault for your accident. They say you were about 15% at fault. So, instead of getting $500,000, your judgment will be reduced by 15%.
You’re driving while on a suspended license. Your car failed inspection for bad brakes and faulty brake lights. You never got the brakes fixed even though it’s been over a month since your inspection. You get caught in bumper to bumper traffic and the car behind you slams into, causing whiplash, a broken collarbone and a ton of property damage.
In court, the defendant’s lawyer says that you were completely at fault. Since your brake lights weren’t working, his client had no idea you were braking. That’s why he hit you. In this case, you may be held about 75% responsible for the accident. Since the other driver’s claim would be greater than yours, you won’t be able to recover.
Call a San Diego Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been in a car accident, you need to call a San Diego personal injury attorney. He’s handled dozens of car accident cases and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.
Call and schedule your free initial consultation with a San Diego law firm today. You can sit down with an experienced attorney and ask any questions you may have. He can also give you an idea of what your case may be worth.