Car accidents involving multiple drivers can be tricky to litigate, particularly if more than one driver is responsible for the accident.
Southern California is home to many busy highways, many of which are congested with tourists, commuters, and other travelers. With so many vehicles on the road, the potential for car accidents only increases — including car accidents with more than two vehicles involved. This type of collision can quickly become incredibly complicated, with arguments over which person is most at fault and whose insurance should cover the damages and losses. A Southern California car accident attorney can help you address these thorny legal and factual issues.
Filing Claims When More Than One Person Is At Fault
When two or more drivers may be responsible for an accident, filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit can be confusing for most lay people. The law allows people to each be liable for a percentage of the blame for an accident. This is known as apportionment of fault. The laws regarding apportionment of fault vary by state, and can depend largely on the facts of the case. Many states reduce the amount of damages that can be claimed according to the percentage of fault of the person filing the claim. In some states, the person filing the claim must be less than 50% at fault in order to be allowed to file.
Comparative negligence is a related concept that can reduce your award if you are partially at fault for the accident. For example, assume that you are driving down a street when another vehicle pulls out from an alley without making sure the street was clear, striking your car in the process. The other driver was pretty obviously at fault, as you had the right of way and he failed to look both ways. But if you also did something wrong — maybe you were driving down the center of the street and were not fully on the right side — your award or settlement may be reduced by a percentage. If you had $100,000 in damages resulting this accident and the jury found that you were 10% at fault because you were not on the right side of the road, then you would recover $90,000 rather than $100,000. This is a rather simplified example, but it effectively demonstrates the way comparative negligence works to reduce the amount an injured party recovers. An experienced Southern California car accident attorney can guide you through the process of filing a claim involving multiple drivers or comparative negligence, including providing advice on the likelihood of having your award reduced based on the facts of your case.
What Damages Can Be Recovered
If you’re hurt in a car accident, you may suffer a wide variety of losses. First, there will be physical damage to your car, and possibly to your personal property. Second, you may suffer medical injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations, contusions, or neck and back injuries. Third, you could have pain and suffering as a result of these injuries, or have mental health issues related to the accident that require ongoing treatment. Fourth, you may be out of work for a period of time because of the accident — or even permanently unable to work because of the injuries that you suffered. There may be additional categories of damages based on the specific facts of your case.
After a thorough investigation, a Southern California car accident attorney can evaluate your case and develop a comprehensive list of potential damages, which will include all of the types listed above and perhaps other losses as well. For example, if you are married or have kids, your spouse or children may be able to file a claim for their own loss if you are unable to do normal things with them as a parent or partner. You may also be able to ask for compensation for loss of enjoyment of life if you are now disabled and cannot do the same things you could before. Hiring a skilled attorney with experience in handling car accidents can be the key to recovering fully for your losses because he or she will be able to not only assess the full range of your injuries, but retain experts to make a solid case as to why you should be compensated for your losses.
If you have been hurt in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We have broad experience in handling accident cases in Southern California and beyond, and we never charge a fee unless we recover money for our clients.