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After a crash, you may wonder, “Can I claim personal injury if the accident is my fault?” You may be able to recover compensation even if you were partially at fault for an accident. However, you should understand how fault works in California personal injury cases to determine what your options are when it comes to compensation. If you need help determining fault and whether you have the ability to recover a personal injury settlement, consult with the personal injury lawyers at Kuvara Law Firm by calling 1-800-4-INJURY.

Fault in California Personal Injury Cases

If you got into an accident, you might ask yourself, “Can I recover compensation for a car accident that was my fault?” Your ability to recover will depend on whether another party was also at fault. The reason for this is that California uses the “comparative negligence” principle in personal injury cases.

Comparative Fault in California

Using the comparative negligence principle, injured individuals in accident cases may sue another liable party that was at fault, even if the injured party is partly responsible for the accident.

The amount of compensation the at-fault claimant may recover will depend on the degree to which he or she was at fault. The more fault the claimant shares, the lower the amount of compensation.

Specifically, parties will be partially liable based on a percentage. This means if you are 50% responsible for an accident, you will only be able to recover 50% of the total compensation your case otherwise qualifies for.

Can You Get Compensation If the Accident Was Your Fault?

You can get compensation if you were at fault for an accident in California, provided the other party was at fault to a higher extent.

The key is determining liability and the damages involved in your case. So, should you sue for a personal injury accident when you were at fault?

There are a few circumstances when this might occur. For example, you might get into a car accident in which another driver shares fault with you. In this case, you would file a third-party personal injury claim against the other party’s insurance company. In another case, you might experience injuries on another person’s property, which could lead you to file a premises liability case even if you were partially at fault for the accident.

There are many circumstances based on comparative negligence that can allow injured parties to recover compensation regardless of whether they were at fault. However, it ultimately depends on the degree of fault. If you are solely at fault for an accident, you may not have the ability to recover any compensation from the other parties involved, but car accident attorneys and others practicing personal injury law can help you determine your options.

Types of Compensation in Personal Injury Cases

If you sue another party, and you share fault in an accident, you could recover a percentage of compensation for various damages.

These include:

  • Economic Damages: These are direct financial losses resulting from an accident and injuries, and they can include medical expenses, lost income, lost earning potential, disability, and property damage, among others.
  • Non-economic Damages: Claimants in personal injury cases may also sue for non-economic damages. While these are more difficult to prove than economic damages because of their less tangible nature, they often still apply as they negatively impact a person’s life following an accident. These damages may include pain and suffering, mental distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disfigurement, and loss of consortium, among others.

An attorney can help you determine what kinds of compensation you can recover and how much comparative fault might impact the settlement amount.

Steps for Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Regardless of whether you were at partially fault for an accident, you should take the same basic steps to begin a personal injury claim. These steps include the four things to do after an accident, but they may change from case to case:

1. Get to a Safe Area and Open an Accident Report

Following any type of accident, it’s important to get to a safe space and ensure that there isn’t any additional risk of injury. Once you and others are safe, call the police and file an accident report. The authorities may also send an ambulance if anyone requires immediate medical care.

Meanwhile, law enforcement can include details in a police report that features information about the accident’s cause, the people involved, the accident scene, and witness statements, all of which could help support your claim in a personal injury case.

2. Seek Treatment

Even if your injuries appear mild, you should seek professional medical care to properly diagnose and treat any condition you might be suffering from after the accident.

Seeking medical care will help put you on the path to recovery and provide you with more pieces of evidence you can use to build your case.

3. Collect Sufficient Evidence

The next step is collecting ample evidence to build a strong case against the other parties responsible.

You will need to prove four main items in a case to succeed, including:

  • That the other party owed a duty of care
  • This party breached his or her duty of care
  • The breach of duty of care led to an accident and subsequent harm
  • This harm contributed to quantifiable damages

There are plenty of pieces of evidence you may use in these cases, such as police reports, medical bills and receipts, proof of lost income, and receipts for repairs.

Collecting all necessary evidence can be a challenge, which is why you should consider consulting an attorney for help.

4. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

You can increase your chances of a successful injury claim with the help of a California personal injury attorney.

An attorney can help identify the liable parties involved, calculate the comparative fault percentage for each party, identify and calculate all resulting damages, and collect evidence to support a case.

Additionally, an attorney will help negotiate with the liable parties or their insurance companies. This service is crucial as insurers often attempt to minimize settlement amounts to avoid large payouts, especially if you are partially at fault. Insurers may claim that you are more at fault than the defendant, even if you weren’t, and may try to lead you to take a minimal settlement. An attorney will know the true worth of your case and fight to recover total compensation.

5. File Your Claim on Time

Once you’ve consulted with a personal injury lawyer, you shouldn’t wait to file a claim against the other party’s insurer. The reason for this urgency is that, like other states, California has a statute of limitations in place for personal injury cases and other types of legal pursuits.

The statute of limitations is a time limit that gives injured parties a set amount of time to file a claim or lawsuit before they’re unable to pursue compensation. The reason for this is the deterioration of evidence and viability of cases, as it can get harder to prove liability and damages as time goes on after an accident.

In California, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury or one year from the date you discover injuries. If you fail to file within that window, you may be unable to recover compensation from any parties involved.

An attorney can help you build your case and ensure you file before the statute of limitations passes.

Why Hire Legal Representation?

You might still be asking, “Why hire a personal injury lawyer?” If you believe you might be at fault for an accident and want to recover compensation with a case, you may struggle to prove that the other party was liable or that you weren’t at fault to the degree the defendant claims.

To make sure you have a fighting chance at recovering the compensation you need, you should speak with a reputable personal injury lawyer. The right lawyer will be able to navigate you through the entire claims or legal process and determine what kind of compensation you’re able to recover from other parties and their insurers.

To learn more about how an attorney can help you build your case, contact us at Kuvara Law Firm for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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