The cause of injuries in a car accident is not always clear. Often people focus on who was at fault for the car accident, but the sometimes the real legal question is who is at fault for the injuries. It is possible for the insurance company to blame you for at least partially causing your own injuries.
California law recognizes the principle of comparative negligence. This means that if your negligence was a partial cause of your injuries, your award for damages can be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
For example, if a court found that you were 10% at fault for an accident and the court had decided that you suffered $100,000 in damages, your award would be reduced by 10%. This would leave you with $90,000. In California you can sue to recover for damages even if you were 99% at fault for the accident. However, your damages will greatly reduced.
One way you may be blamed for partially causing your injuries is the so-called seat belt defense. If you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, the insurance company can try and argue that your injuries were worse because you failed to wear your seat belt.
However, just because the other side argues for the seat belt defense does not mean they will win. They would still have to prove their claim.
Even though most car accident cases settle before going to trial, the ultimate recovery is based upon the beliefs of the insurance company about what a court would likely do if the case were to go to trial.
Because insurance adjusters have so much more experience dealing with personal injury law and car accidents than regular people, they are at an advantage when trying to settle a case. The best thing you can do for your own case, even if you believe you might be partially to blame for your injuries, is to get an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side to negotiate with the insurance company, and take your case to court if necessary.
If you were injured in a car accident, you need to speak with a tough and knowledgeable San Jose personal injury lawyer right away. Call the Law Office of John J. Garvey, III today at 408-293-7777 to schedule a consultation.
While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with the attorney, please call at 408-293-7777 or complete the intake form below.