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If I am Partially Responsible for the Accident, Can I File a Lawsuit?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The quickest and simplest answer is yes, even if part of the responsibility for the accident where you were injured is yours, you have the possibility and the right to file a claim.

California has the principle of “comparative fault,” which simply means that you can seek percentage compensation for your damages that were the responsibility of the other person involved. Clearly, this mathematical account reduces the amount of money you can claim since the other percentage must be assumed by you for your part of responsibility.

A clear example is that if you are considered 30% responsible for the accident and your claim is $100,000, you should only receive $70,000 in compensation and assume the rest of the cost yourself.

In order to determine whether to make your claim, there are several factors to consider:

Percentage of Fault: Determine what the causes were and what responsibility falls on each of the people involved. This can be a very long and complicated process that involves arduous negotiations between those involved, their legal representatives and insurance companies.

Time to File a Claim, legally known as the Statute of Limitations: Regardless of the evidence, each State has determined the deadline to file the claim. In the case of California it is usually 2 years from the accident in most cases with a few exceptions that extend this limit.

Collecting and evaluating evidence: Your claim is only as strong as your evidence. You should be able to provide all the information you have about the police accident report, witness testimony, and medical records.

Communication with the Insurer: At this time it is essential to be cautious and have an experienced legal team on your side so that you can enforce your rights and not fall into common tricks that will make you lose money.

Seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney is vitally important in all cases, but especially when fault is shared and must be strongly negotiated.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.