If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s already confusing and
scary enough. Then you start reading about what to do next, and you find
yourself confronted by terms like “serious injury threshold”
and the limits to compensation you might be able to receive. You don’t
even know what this means, and you’re worried about what to do next.
The truth is, this is the last thing about which you should concern yourself.
Learn how the serious injury threshold affects a car accident case, and
why in California you should hire a car accident lawyer to seek compensation.
What Is the Serious Injury Threshold?
In no-fault states, such as Florida, Kansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Kentucky,
Pennsylvania, D.C. and a few others, there are ways which someone can
step outside the no-fault system and seek personal injury claims for negligence
in car accidents. These limits can vary widely by state, being $10,000
in one state, and $50,000 in another.
The general gist of it is, in such a state you normally file an injury
claim against your own insurance company, using no-fault insurance to
cover your damages. If your injuries exceed the threshold, however, you
can step outside the system and sue the other driver.
Serious Injuries in California
However, in California, the serious injury threshold does not apply. California
is a fault state, meaning that one driver (or both) is held to be negligent,
and this negligence is the determining factor in compensatory damages
for an auto accident case involving injuries. However, even in California,
there’s a catch, and that’s the degree of fault you may share
in the accident.
Pure Comparative Negligence
California operates on a concept of “pure” comparative negligence.
What this means is that the state recognizes that a single person isn’t
always completely at fault for an incident, but that both parties can
share a measure of responsibility. In such cases, the degree to which
you share fault can affect the damages you receive.
For example, if your accident is worth $400,000, but it comes out during
negotiations, arbitration, mediation or trial that you were in fact 25%
responsible for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by that
much. Thus, you’d only receive $300,000 of the total damages involved
in the case. Likewise, if you were found to be 75% responsible, you’d
only receive $100,000 (and this could lead to the other driver pursuing
a case against you).
Because California is a comparative fault state, you need all the help
you can get in proving that the accident was the result of the other driver’s
negligence. This means you’ll need to demonstrate that the other
driver acted irresponsibly in such a way that they caused an accident
that was the proximate or direct cause of the injuries you suffered.
If you’re in California and you need help pursuing your case, turn
to an experienced
car accident lawyer at Dunnion law firm. We’ve helped California residents pursue injury
settlements for over 40 years, and we’re ready to help you as well.
Give us a call for a free consultation regarding your case today.