If you suffer an injury on someone else’s property but are partly at fault for what happened to you, you may still be able to recover compensation. California operates under comparative negligence, meaning that even if you are mainly at fault for an accident, you could still collect damages from a property owner if they violated premises liability laws.
Consulting with a Los Angeles premises liability lawyer may shed more light on this for you, as well as learning more about what happens when you are partly at fault in your case.
How Comparative Negligence Factors into Your Case
There are different types of negligence laws across the country, such as comparative and contributory negligence. Comparative negligence allows those who have some fault to still collect damages, while contributory negligence bars you from collecting compensation if you are even one percent of the fault.
In California, we follow comparative negligence for personal injury and premises liability cases as outlined in the California Civil Code (CIV). This means anyone involved in an accident can be eligible to collect damages. The law states that everyone is responsible for “his or her willful acts” as well as any injury they cause whether it is caused by themselves or their property.
The courts will decide how much percentage of the fault will be attributed to you and your total award will be adjusted accordingly. For example, if you are assigned 30 percent of the blame and your award is $100,000, then your compensation would be reduced to $70,000.
Ways to Get Your Fault Reduced in a Premises Liability Case
The property owner has a basic duty that is owed to you to keep their property safe and maintain it regularly. If their property has what is known as a dangerous condition and they knew about it, they could be found negligent. However, you also have a duty to act reasonably while on someone else’s property. If it is found that you were acting out of ordinary care and that contributed to your injury while on their property, then fault could be assigned to you as well.
Additionally, the property owner may try to claim that you should have known about the conditions that caused your injury and say they had signs up warning about it. Those signs could be too small or hard to notice, though, so you could still have a case against them.
If you are assigned fault in your premises liability case, there could be ways to potentially get it reduced. Before you speak with a lawyer, there are steps you can take on your own that can benefit your case, such as:
- Seeking medical attention so your injuries are documented
- Calling emergency personnel if needed
- Snapping photos or taking videos of the scene
- Filing an official report of the incident with the property owner
- Refusing to admit any blame for the accident
- Not accepting any initial offer from an insurance company
How a Premises Liability Lawyer Can Help
Consulting with a Los Angeles premises liability lawyer could also help in reducing your fault, as they will take over all aspects of your case and do the following for you:
- Collecting Evidence: To prove that you were not at fault as much as the courts say you are, your lawyer will work to collect evidence. This could include security camera footage, photos or videos of the area where you were injured, finding and interviewing witnesses, and more.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies are not out to make your life easier. They are focused on making money and keeping that money, which means they will not want to pay you the compensation you deserve for the accident. Your lawyer will handle all communications with them and work to get you a fair award that covers all the expenses from your injury.
- Filing Your Case: Your lawyer will also make sure to file your case on time so that you do not miss the California statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of the injury.
Speak with Our Legal Team Today about Your Premises Liability Case
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we work with premises liability case victims across the greater Los Angeles area. If you have injured yourself on someone else’s property but may partially be at fault, you should still contact a law firm to see if you have a case.
To speak with one of our representatives today, contact us at (800) 223-5115 for a free consultation that has no obligation to you. We can talk you through your case and inform you of the best options available to you. You may be entitled to recover compensation from the property owner even if you have some fault assigned to you for the incident.