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Can I Claim Personal Injury if I Was at Fault in San Francisco?

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Can I Claim Personal Injury if I Was at Fault in San Francisco
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You might wonder if making a personal injury claim is possible if you were at fault in an accident in San Francisco. It is certainly possible to file a personal injury claim. However, if it is determined that you are at fault, your chances of receiving a settlement are reasonably low.

Some examples of personal injury accidents include car, truck, and bicycle accidents, which fall under the category of motor vehicle accidents. Other examples include being bitten by someone’s dog and getting injured due to the malfunctioning of a company’s defective product.

Personal injury claims provide monetary compensation for any damages or losses you have experienced during an accident. Hence, if you were injured and needed medical treatment, your costs may be covered through insurance. However, if you did not sustain any injuries or if they were minor enough not to warrant medical attention, you may not have a valid claim.

In San Francisco, California, there are some limitations to filing personal injury claims, such as a 2-year deadline following an accident, evidence to prove your claim, and evidence of bodily harm.

Simply put, if you were at fault and it was due to negligence, i.e., careless action that resulted in another’s harm, even if you were also injured during the accident, chances are very low that you have a valid claim for personal injury.

Let’s explore some details of claiming personal injury in San Francisco.

What Qualifies as a Personal Injury Claim in San Francisco, California?

A personal injury claim can be filed in California if a person has suffered an injury or loss due to intentional or negligent harm.

These instances may include traffic accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, and many others. However, the most commonly filed personal injury claim is for motor vehicle accidents.

The relevant authorities will investigate to determine who was at fault before reaching a final verdict. In many cases, the guilty party is only partly responsible for the accident, resulting in a fair settlement.

Another common personal injury claim is due to defective company products resulting in bodily harm. For example, the vape industry was sued by individuals who suffered injuries from exploding batteries.

Since California follows a comparative fault system, the investigation conducted by insurance companies and local police departments will provide objective clarity on the occurrence. This leads to a fair allocation of blame that results in the proper distribution of awarded damages.

The case may get drawn out if the details are complicated and need to be ironed out. For example, relevant authorities must scrutinize the evidence, and the cost of the damage must be calculated accurately.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer or attorney ensures you build the most robust case possible in your favor. These professionals are experienced in bringing critical elements to light and only take a small share of the final settlement.

What if You Were Responsible For a Personal Injury Case?

California’s at-fault accident law states that whoever is responsible for causing a car accident is liable to pay for all bodily and property damages. However, everyone involved in the accident must file a claim with the guilty party’s insurer, allowing them to receive compensation for their losses.

Suppose the police report and insurer’s investigation have revealed that you were responsible for the accident. In that case, you will likely go through an expensive back-and-forth process with your insurance company. Since other people were also injured in the accident, your insurance company must now handle their claims, which can be very expensive, depending on the degree of damages.

For example, if you ran a traffic light and collided with a car, causing two other drivers also to become involved in the accident, you would be at fault according to California state law. The three car owners would then file a claim to your insurance company for medical treatment and property damage, which would be investigated over the coming weeks.

This is not the same as no-fault jurisdictions in other states, which require drivers to file a claim with their own insurance companies without needing to identify the guilty party.

Statutory negligence is typically proven through police reports, identifying the guilty party as having defied the California Vehicle Code. In contrast, comparative negligence jurisdiction is only applicable if police reports and the insurer’s investigation prove that both parties were responsible for the collision.

California accident law allows insurers to conduct their own investigation within 40 days of the accident before reaching a final verdict. If more time is needed, the insurance company must directly inform the victims of any delays in the process.

When the process is finally complete, the insurance company determines a monetary value for the damages incurred, which is then paid by the guilty party within 30 days.

In most cases, the police reports make it clear who was at fault after scrutinizing various factors, and the insurance company has to accept the findings from the report. However, the guilty party may refuse to take ownership or deny the allegations, resulting in a long and drawn-out procedure for everyone. 

How Much Compensation Can You Receive From a Personal Injury Claim?

In San Francisco, California, you can expect to receive the maximum compensation for your personal injury claim. This may be difficult to achieve by yourself, so your personal injury attorney will do everything in their power to help you recover as much as possible.

In some cases, you can expect to receive more than the threshold value if your mental health has also been affected due to the traumatizing element of a severe accident.

You might be eligible for such compensation if you suffered long-term consequences from the accident, making returning to your current job difficult.

Is Your Claim Valid if You Were Partly Responsible for the Accident?

In San Francisco, California, you may receive some compensation for your claim if you were partly responsible for the accident that led to an injury. Following an investigation and looking at the evidence, your insurer will consider comparative fault rules to determine how much compensation you can receive.

For example, if you were involved in a traffic accident where your car was hit on the side due to another driver’s fault, but you were over the speed limit, the court may assign you 20% of the blame.

If the compensation comes out to be $10,000, you will receive $8,000 since it was partly your fault.

Does a Police Report Help Your Personal Injury Claim?

Many traffic accidents are followed up by a police report, which helps determine who was at fault by checking cameras in the location, making it possible to conduct an objective assessment. Insurance companies often rely on these police reports to decide personal injury claims.

Suppose you were at fault and the police report shows it. In that case, you will not receive any compensation for the property or bodily damage. Police reports extensively detail all relevant information, such as the traffic accident’s time, date, location, and other factors that led to the collision.

The police reports go a long way in either helping your case or working against it. Either way, the objective assessment will provide facts that will help your insurer determine whether your claim is valid.

What is the Average Car Accident Settlement in California?

Personal injury through car accidents can be catastrophic for people and their families. Recovering from the financial burden brought on by medical expenses and property damage repair can take years.

Suppose you are at fault and cause a severe traffic accident in California. In that case, you will likely have to pay damages to everyone involved in the accident and your own. 

Statistics show that California traffic accident victims are more likely to receive a large portion of the settlement from the relevant insurance companies or guilty drivers.

Settlement data indicates that the average car accident settlement is nearly $21,000. Various factors, including medical bills, accident circumstances, lost salaries, non-economic damages, and evidence for your case, determine this value.

However, the settlement amount can vary between $14,321 and $28,215, depending on the severity of the conditions.

For example, some traffic accidents may have larger settlements if the injured party has suffered extensive injuries, such as spinal cord trauma and internal injuries. This requires significant medical attention and a lengthy rehabilitation process, creating a solid case for personal injury claims.

Settlements can be higher if the guilty party is charged with driving under the influence (DUI), a serious crime that often results in punitive damages on top of compensatory damages. This extra sum is awarded when the guilty driver has committed an outrageous crime and is heavily in the wrong under California law.

Suppose the victims have lost their jobs as a result of injuries. In that case, they will likely receive a higher settlement due to the significance of the long-term financial loss.

Non-economic damages are harder to quantify since people react differently to traumatizing situations. For example, losing a limb during an accident can be extremely difficult to recover from since mental anguish affects all aspects of life.

Finally, the evidence for or against your case affects the settlement amount since the guilty party is liable to take on the brunt of the responsibility. If you’ve built a strong case, you may go to trial for a final verdict, allowing the court to decide how much settlement you are liable to receive or pay.

In San Francisco, California, they can sue them for compensation if someone is injured due to another person’s fault. However, the amount of money awarded depends on how much responsibility each party had for causing the injury. For example, if two people ran into each other, both would be responsible for paying damages at the percentage they were at fault. Therefore, if you were 95% at fault, you could sue for 5% of the damages caused by the other party.

Hire a Competent Attorney for Expert Advice

Although you are within your rights to handle a personal injury case alone, hiring a competent attorney is in your best interests. This is because you may not know whose fault it was, and the evidence may only be hearsay. You should hire an experienced attorney to make a strong case in your favor.

Being charged with a lawsuit while in pain and seeking medical treatment can be extremely difficult for anyone. Insurance companies are known to take advantage of this chaos and weasel their way out of settling claims, which many people are unaware of.

Insurance companies often use people’s ignorance of the law against them and avoid paying them the compensation they deserve, making it necessary to hire an attorney to handle your case. Knowing how insurance companies use the pressure of recovering from injury against people making claims helps them prepare better to make a solid case for themselves.

Phoong Law covers personal injury claims for a range of motor vehicle accidents, ensuring it makes the most robust case possible in your favor to pressure insurance companies to pay their due.

Final Verdict

Personal injury claims are helpful for people seeking monetary compensation for their loss due to intentional and negligent harm.

Insurance companies try their best to pay the lowest amount possible and prey on people’s ignorance of the law in their favor.

Hiring a competent lawyer or attorney makes it possible to create a strong case for yourself, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.

Many personal injury claims are complicated, and every detail needs to be examined by local police departments and insurance companies. However, personal injury lawyers can help you fight for your claim to pay for all economic and non-economic damages. 

Suppose you are being accused of being at fault for a traffic accident. In that case, you should seek expert attorney advice since you may only be partly responsible. This can save money and help you pay for personal injuries and property damage.

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Injury Lawyer, Anh Phoong, Esq.