Legal fault: more complex than you may think

Who is to blame for a car accident? The correct answer to this question could mean the difference between manageable injuries and an untenable position in terms of both finances and health.

In our personal injury practice, fault is consistently one of the main ideas we investigate. Much of our work involves determining the rules and situations that legally define the negligence or recklessness of the other parties in our clients’ cases.

In short: Fault is essential to determining who should pay for injuries. This is particularly true in California. Here, we operate under an at-fault system for motor-vehicle collisions. This means that parties in a suit would pay for damages relative to their fault. This system contrasts slightly with no-fault states, such as Florida, that requires drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance that covers part of their injuries regardless of who caused the accident.

In California, personal injury protection insurance is known as medical payments insurance — med pay, for short — and the law does not require drivers to carry it. Still, we find that it is one of the more popular additional policies.

Unfortunately, injuries that require hospitalization or advanced treatments often quickly exceed the policy limits for med pay. We may still be able to advocate at this point for a settlement or court decision. However, it is usually more advantageous to act quickly when facing unmanageable medical costs, rather than to wait and exhaust all other resources.

Regardless of what type of insurance our clients carry, our job as a personal injury office is relatively straightforward. We secure our clients’ futures by persuading — or petitioning the court to compel — liable parties to take responsibility for the injuries they cause. Please read more on our main site.

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