Best Personal Injury Lawyers Long Beach, CA Of 2024 – Forbes

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Fault or liability is a crucial factor that impacts the success of your claim and the amount of compensation you can receive.

Since California is an at-fault state, the party found accountable for the accident and injuries is responsible for compensating the losses of the injured party, either through a settlement or a jury award.

The entity responsible for determining liability will vary depending on whether your case settles or goes to trial. During the settlement process, the insurance company assesses liability by conducting an independent investigation. An insurance adjuster may examine the damages and evidence to determine if their policyholder holds blame for the accident. In California, insurers typically have 40 days to investigate a claim and make a decision to accept or deny it.

However, if liability is disputed or if the parties disagree on who was at fault, your Long Beach personal injury attorney may decide to initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the other party and take the case to trial. In this scenario, the jury determines liability after hearing both your and the defendant’s sides of the case.

But what if you also share some amount of fault in the accident? California follows a pure comparative negligence model for cases where both parties may bear some responsibility.

If the court finds both you and the defendant liable for the accident, they assign a percentage of fault to each party. The compensation you can collect is reduced according to your percentage of fault.

For example, consider this situation: A motorcyclist is riding his motorcycle without a helmet, and a car driver, distracted while talking on his phone, runs a red light and crashes into the motorcyclist while he is making a left turn. After assessing the evidence and circumstances, the court determines that the motorcyclist is 20% at fault for not wearing a helmet, and the car driver is 80% at fault for running the red light.

If the motorcyclist sues the car driver for $50,000 in damages, the amount he can collect will be reduced by 20%, resulting in $40,000 (i.e., $50,000 – 20% of $50,000) in compensation.

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