Spinal cord accident victims often require life-long medical and personal care resulting in astronomically high financial costs. That is why it is essential for car accident victims who suffer a spinal cord injury to receive the maximum compensation for their losses and injuries – in legal terms, their damages. Unfortunately, it is common practice for insurance companies to try to assign at least some some blame for an auto accident to the victim.
They do this because under the legal theory of comparative negligence if an accident victim is at least partially at fault, it reduces the amount the insurance company needs to pay the victim as compensation for his or her damages.
The Role of Comparative Negligence in Auto Accident Lawsuits
In many automobile accidents it is clear that one driver is 100% to blame for the accident. When it is not clear, insurance companies jump on the opportunity to have some percent of the blame assigned to the accident victim. This is standard practice in car accident cases because in many states, including California, compensation to the victim of a personal injury accident is based on a legal standard known as comparative negligence. Under this standard an auto accident victim’s compensation is reduced by the percentage he or she is determined to have been at fault for the accident.
For example, if a jury awards $500,000 in damages to the victim but finds the victim 10% to blame for the accident, under California’s comparative negligence standard he or she will actually only receive $450,000 ($500,000 less $50,000 which is the 10% deemed to be the victim’s fault).
Insurance companies look for anything they can, to try to claim the auto accident victim contributed to the occurrence of the accident. Some of the common assertions made by insurance companies deal with the following:
- Distracted driving (i.e. cell phone use, texting, eating, drinking, etc.)
- Failure to use seatbelts
- Failure to give proper signals
- Going through a yellow light
- Crossing outside a crosswalk (in a pedestrian accident)
- Failure to use safety equipment (in motorcycle accidents and bicycle accidents)
Using Expert Witnesses to Establish Fault
A personal injury attorney who is skilled in both automobile accident cases, and trial work, understands the importance of presenting the case in a way that helps jurors understand what really happened. He will often use an auto accident reconstructionist so the jury can actually envision how the car accident occurred. This approach, and others, are aimed at overcoming insurance company attempts to redirect the blame toward the victim.
The attorney’s goal is to avoid the issue of comparative negligence, and get either the insurance company to accept, or a jury to agree, that the defendant is 100% to blame for the accident. This will help ensure the accident victim receives the maximum compensation for his or her damages.
Contact an Experienced Long Beach Automobile Accident Attorney to Assist with Your Claim
“Your Injuries are Personal to Me”
My law practice exclusively represents personal injury victims and does so with a deep understanding of their suffering and an absolute commitment to their recovery. I take your injuries personally, and that is why I directly handle all aspects of every case to ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation. You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries. I offer bilingual services as part of my comprehensive approach to legal representation and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
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