Sometimes, you are completely devoid of any fault in your auto accident. You are sitting at a traffic signal, properly stopped, when someone slams into you from behind. The reality is, though, that many accidents are not that black-and-white. We’ve all made mistakes and misjudgments behind the wheel and sometimes some of those errors played a role in our auto accidents. Fortunately, you do not have to be 100% blameless in order to recover much-needed compensation for the injuries you suffered in your auto accident. If you’re hurt in a crash, be sure to reach out to an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney to learn more about the legal options available for you.
Sometimes, errors are simple misjudgments, like braking too late on a wet road. Other times, there fall more on the side of lapses of good judgment. An apparent momentary lapse in judgment turned tragic in San Mateo earlier in January. According to KPIX, the starting point of the fatal accident was a non-injury crash along Highway 101 where a Dodge Charger struck a Toyota Yaris. (The driver of the Dodge was later arrested for suspicion of DUI.) With both cars still in the travel lanes, a woman riding in the Yaris, I.T., got out of that car to confront the Dodge’s driver, and an argument ensued. While I.T. argued with the Charger’s driver, an oncoming Toyota Camry hit and killed her. The driver of the Camry, like the driver of the Charger, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.
While it might seem easy to criticize the deceased woman for stepping onto a travel lane of a highway in order to maintain an argument with a driver in a fender-bender, we should all be slow to pass judgment. Nearly all of us have been in extremely highly stressful situations on the road – including accidents. And most all of us have had moments where anger, frustration or stress led us to do things we regretted later.
The key focus in this tragic death was that a person, who the police suspect was drunk, got behind the wheel while impaired and struck and killed I.T. When someone else operates their vehicle in a negligent way (such as driving drunk,) then you are entitled to pursue a claim for damages in civil court, even if you also made mistakes that contributed to the accident.
Say, for example, you rear-ended another driver and suffered significant injuries. The other driver had changed lanes in front of you erratically and abruptly. Later investigations revealed he was texting while driving. Even if the jury concluded that you were the person primarily responsible, you can still recover compensation. If the court determined that you were 60% at fault and the other driver was 40% at fault and that your total damages were $350,000, you can receive an award of $350,000 minus 60% of $350,000, or $140,000.
You can still recover something, even if you were the crash’s main cause
In some states, you have to have been less than 50% at fault or else you recover nothing. That is not the rule in California. The rule California law follows is very important to know if you’ve been involved in an accident where you suffered massive injuries but where you were largely to blame. If, for example, you were 85% at fault and the other driver was 15% at fault, and you suffered $800,000 in damages, you can still obtain $120,000 in compensation. While not $800,000, that sum of $120,000 is certainly far more helpful than $0.
Even if you made errors that played a role in your accident, you may still be entitled to recover significant compensation for the harm you suffered. Turn to the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have many years of experience helping people injured in drunk driving accidents and other crashes. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.