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Personal Injury Law: California Personal Injury Law Blog
Car, Motorcycle, Truck, and other Motor Vehicle Cases in California; The Burden of Proof.
By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.
I get many calls from many victims of Car, Motorcycle, Truck, and other Motor Vehicle accidents. The vast majority of drivers in California will eventually get into some kind of motor vehicle accident in their lifetime, whether it be a small fender bender or a major accident. What most non lawyers do not know is there is a vast and complicated process of obtaining maximum monetary compensation for your accident. I have written many articles on why it is so important for you to retain a lawyer just as soon as possible if you are in a car, motorcycle, truck, or other motor vehicle accident. You can read them on this blog and on my personal injury website by clicking here. The purpose of this article is to discuss the burden of proof in motor vehicle accidents. Most non lawyers think; ?oh I was rear ended; I will automatically get money,? etc. This is not the case, and this is why it is so important for you to retain a lawyer for your case!
(1) Liability; who is at fault in your car, motorcycle, truck, or other motor vehicle accident in the State of California?
This is the first major issue that needs to be addressed to obtain compensation in a motor vehicle accident in California. It boils down to who is at fault in an accident. You need to be able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant as at fault in your case. Just because you are not at fault in an accident does not mean you will collect money, or the just compensation that you are entitled to!
Furthermore, in the State of California, we have what is called comparative fault. What this means is that a jury can apportion a percentage of fault to each person in a case. As a plaintiff in a car, motorcycle, truck, or other motor vehicle accident you will need to show that a defendant is more than 50% at fault or liable.
(2) Damages; Special and general damages. Damages must be reasonable, reasonably ascertainable, and a plaintiff has a duty to mitigate damages. Damages must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
Although liability is the key to getting a settlement or judgment in a car, motorcycle, truck, or other motor vehicle accident in California, damages will determine how much compensation you will receive in a case.
Special damages are out of pocket losses and expenses that result from an accident. General damages are non out of pocket losses such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, etc.
In order to obtain a just settlement or judgment in a car, motorcycle, truck, or other motor vehicle accident, liability and damages must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. There are other issues such as Proposition 213 in the State of California that restrict non insured motorist from obtaining general damages in a motor vehicle accident.
I have seen too many instances of victims of motor vehicle negligence call me up after they have damaged their case by trying to do it themselves. There is a saying, only a fool has himself for a client. The insurance adjusters know that if you are calling them on the phone without legal representation that they are dealing with someone who has no clue what they are entitled to or how to prove it.
Do yourself a favor; if you have had any type of motor vehicle accident anywhere in California, give us a call at 800-816-1529, we will give you a free consultation.
By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007
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