If you’re partially at fault in a car accident in Los Angeles, you need a strong legal team that’s willing to fight for you. Even if you’re partly at fault for the accident, you could still be eligible for compensation.
Our car accident lawyers in Los Angeles at Simmrin Law Group have years of experience advocating for people who were partially at fault in a car accident. Read on to learn about California’s negligence laws and how a lawyer from our law firm can help you.
What Type of Fault System Does California Have?
California follows a “comparative fault” system when it comes to assessing liability in personal injury cases. This differs from a “contributory negligence” standard used in some other states.
Under a comparative fault system:
- If more than one party is found to be at fault for an accident, liability is apportioned based on each party’s percentage of responsibility.
- A plaintiff can still recover damages as long as they are found to bear less than 51% of the fault. Their assigned percentage of liability will reduce their award.
- For example, if you are 20% at fault and the defendant 80%, your damages will be reduced by 20% before the award is issued.
- Factors like negligence, assumption of risk, product defects, and statutory violations are considered when determining each party’s percentage of fault.
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Damages You Can Recover if at Fault in a California Accident
Even when partially or fully at fault, several types of damages may still be recoverable from other negligent parties in a California accident case. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys can help you recover:
If another driver or entity shares responsibility for your injuries, you can seek compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment required as a result of the crash. This includes medical bills for initial emergency response and hospitalization, follow-up doctor visits, surgeries, prescription medications, physical therapy, medical devices, and more.
In addition to bills for treatment already received, you may also seek recovery of future medical costs. An expert can provide an opinion on your long-term prognosis and predict the need for continued treatment, like knee replacement surgery, down the line. This strengthens the argument for monetary compensation upfront to pay for future projected expenses.
Both past and future lost wages can be recovered on a proportionate basis. Documentation like pay stubs or tax records helps prove pre-accident income. Experts may calculate long-term effects on your earning potential as well. Missed self-employment or household duties may also qualify.
Loss of future promotional or raise opportunities due to injuries can also impact potential earning capacity in the future. Raises, benefits, and the extent of career advancement you lost due to the accident create a case for recovering larger income losses.
Pain and Suffering
Compensation is warranted to account for the physical pain you experienced and any resulting emotional distress. Details on how injuries impacted your daily life and enjoyment provide evidence.
Your quality of life has monetary value, too. How severely joyful activities were limited and how your relationships were affected bolsters the claim. Ongoing symptoms like chronic pain negatively impacting sleep, mood, and daily enjoyment still warrant compensation.
Will Being Partially At-Fault Increase My Insurance Rates?
If you were partially responsible for an accident, your auto insurance rates may increase, but not necessarily, and not by as much as if you were fully at fault. There are a few factors that will influence the impact on your rates:
- Insurance companies examine fault percentages assigned by the police or claims adjusters. Being less than 50% at fault helps minimize rate hikes.
- A single accident where you shared responsibility likely will not result in as large of a premium increase as multiple incidents with full fault findings.
- Filing claims only affects rates for a set number of years that vary by company and state regulations. After that window, rates return to pre-accident levels.
- Not all insurers consider claims equally. Some pay more attention to accidents where drivers were primarily at fault versus those with lower responsibility shares.
- Choosing not to file an insurance claim and paying costs out of pocket may avoid any rate increases, depending on policies and claim value.
While there is usually some impact, being partially at fault does not automatically equate to major or long-term auto insurance cost increases as a fully at-fault accident might. The degree of responsibility plays a key role.
How Can a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Help You if You’re at Fault?
Being at fault for a car accident does not mean you are without options or assistance. An experienced car accident lawyer in Los Angeles can provide valuable representation even in these circumstances. Here are some ways Simmrin Law Group can help:
One way an attorney can help is by negotiating with the insurance company of the other driver on your behalf. Our lawyers have experience in negotiating, which often leads to better settlement outcomes for both sides. We understand what factors insurers consider when assessing liability and damages.
Another important role is properly assessing fault based on the complex comparative negligence standards in California. An attorney ensures all details surrounding percentages of responsibility are fully examined, which directly impacts potential liabilities and resolution.
If the other party decides to file a lawsuit against you, an attorney can manage your entire legal defense. This involves responding to initial complaints, participating in the discovery process, potential mediation proceedings, and beyond.
Your lawyer will also look for any applicable mitigating factors that could lessen the degree of fault assigned to you. This may include road hazards, the other party’s own negligence contribution, or other details that alter fault determinations.
We can give you advice on insurance matters, like what to do if you are sued for damages exceeding your policy limits or issues around your insurer’s obligations of good faith. An attorney ensures your rights are protected even when insurance is involved after an at-fault accident.
In any situation, an experienced car accident attorney provides knowledgeable legal assistance and advocacy that can make a big difference in the outcome, even for those partially or fully responsible in a crash.
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Learn More About What to Do if You Were Partially at Fault in an Accident
At Simmrin Law Group, our car accident attorney in Los Angeles is ready to help you reduce your fault by using evidence and getting you the compensation you qualify for. We offer a free consultation where we can assess your case.
Contact us today to learn more about how our team of car accident attorneys can help you and give you a free consultation.