Brain injuries are serious injuries that can result from someone’s negligent actions. If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury after an accident, you may be entitled to compensation if you can prove the other party’s fault.
Fault is one of the most essential elements to prove in a brain injury case. To get damages, you must prove the other party’s fault. And to negate your lawsuit, the other party wants to prove your fault. But how is fault determined in a brain injury in California?
Determining fault in a brain injury in CA starts with proving that the other party’s negligence or reckless actions caused your brain injury. Your brain injury lawyer will be able to explain your case and let you know how to proceed.
How Is Fault Determined in Brain Injury Cases?
To prove fault in a brain injury case, you must prove the other party was negligent. To prove negligence, you must prove the following elements.
You must prove that the party you are filing a claim against owed you a legal duty. For example, medical professionals owe a duty to their patients. This is proven by showing evidence of a doctor-patient relationship. Similarly, all vehicle drivers have a duty to drive safely and obey traffic laws. This is true for car drivers, truck drivers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.
Breach of Duty
Next, you must show that the party breached their legal duty. Doctors break their duty to their patients if they fail to diagnose an ailment they should have discovered. Or, a business breaches its legal duty to keep its premises safe if it fails to fix broken floorboards.
You must connect the other party’s breach of their legal duty to the damages you suffered. For example, just because a truck driver is speeding, and therefore broke their duty to drive safely, and hits your car does not mean they are liable for your injuries. If you ran a red light, running the red light could be what caused you to get hit by the truck. We’ll discuss this more in the comparative negligence section below.
You must show that the other party’s breach caused damages. For brain injury cases, you need to show evidence of your brain injury. This includes medical files, such as your medical bills and your diagnosis.
How Does Your Fault Affect Your Brain Injury Case?
Just because you can prove the other party was at fault for the accident, that does not mean you can collect full compensation for your brain injury. If you are partially at fault for the accident, the damages you can collect are reduced. Read on to learn how your fault can affect the outcome of your case.
California follows the doctrine of comparative fault. This doctrine states that a party is only entitled to compensation for the portion of damages they did not cause. This is based on the doctrine of fairness. You cannot benefit from an act that was your fault. A party cannot recover damages for the portion of the compensation they caused.
For example, suppose you were hit by a car while riding your bicycle. The emergency room doctor diagnosed you with a concussion. You suffered $100,000 in damages. However, suppose you were not wearing a helmet and that this contributed to your head injury by 30%. Your reward will be reduced by your percentage of fault—30%. This means you can only recover $70,000 of your damages.
Importance of Comparative Fault
Because California is a comparative negligence state, opposing parties will attempt to exploit this. They know that the more they can shift the blame for the accident onto you, the less they will have to pay.
Our dedicated team of brain injury attorneys will not let the other party unjustly shift the blame onto you. We will ensure that you get fair compensation for your damages.
Who Could Be At Fault for a Brain Injury?
The party at fault for a brain injury depends on the facts of the case. Common parties that can be liable for a brain injury include the following:
- Vehicle drivers,
- Truck drivers,
- Medical professionals,
- Businesses, and
- Government entities.
Be aware that rules for medical professionals and government entities may be different than the rules for others. For over 40 years, our brain injury lawyers at the Frederick Law Firm have fought for the rights of injured victims.
What Types of Accidents Can Cause a Brain Injury?
Common personal injury accidents or incidents that can cause a brain injury include the following:
- Car accident,
- Motorcycle accident,
- Truck accident,
- Bicycle accident,
- Medical malpractice,
- Slips and falls, and
- Dog bites.
A brain injury lawyer can review the facts of your case and help you establish your claim.
How Long Do You Have to File a Brain Injury Claim?
A brain injury claim arises out of acts of negligence, recklessness, or a willful act. These claims fall under the branch of personal injury law. In California, personal injury claims must be filed within two years after the date of the incident. If you fail to bring your claim by the two-year deadline, then you generally cannot pursue your claim or collect damages for your brain injury. Note that some claims may have different deadlines. For example, medical malpractice claims must be brought within three years of the date of the injury or one year after you discover or should have discovered the injury. However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations. Thus, retaining a seasoned brain injury lawyer is essential to ensure that you file your brain injury case before it’s too late.
Contact the Frederick Law Firm for a Free Case Evaluation
Brain injury cases can be complicated. And you may still be dealing with doctors and treatments. There’s no need to go through this alone. At the Frederick Law Firm, you’re like family. We have dedicated our time and resources to fighting for our clients’ rights. Our award-winning attorneys offer their services on a contingency basis, so you pay us nothing unless we win your case. Contact us today and learn more about how we can help with your brain injury claim.