Q: How do I know if my personal injury claim is valid?
A: Recovering damages for a personal injury requires proof that you’ve been injured by the accident. The injury may be physical or emotional. In addition, you must be able to show that someone else caused your injury as a result of negligence, strict liability, or some intentional misconduct. The best way to assess these issues is to review them with an experienced attorney.
Q: If the incident is partly my fault, can I still present a claim?
A: Even if an incident of injury is partially your fault, in California you still may have a claim based on the concept of "comparative negligence." This means the fault of all parties is compared, and the amount of the recovery for damages sustained by the injured victim is reduced by the percentage of their own fault. In this way, each person is held accountable for the amount of damages that they caused.
If you're injured by the negligent action of another, but you contributed to the accident by your failure to exercise reasonably prudent care, you’ll be assessed some percentage of responsibility for your own contributory negligence. The percentage acts as an offset against your claim for damages. There may also be an offset if you voluntarily expose yourself to a known danger. This is called "assumption of risk. "
There is also a concept in California called "fair responsibility." If there are multiple parties responsible for your injuries, each party is held responsible only for that percentage of your claim which they caused. The other party's percentage of responsibility is offset if they are not involved in the case. It is best to include everyone who may be found responsible for your injury.
How do I know if I may need an attorney?
There are many problems that may arise in injury claims. The problems are sometimes subtle and difficult to understand. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before you give any statements or sign any papers of any kind and as soon after your injury as possible.
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