Can a person get pain and suffering money if they are at fault in an accident?

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Can a person get pain and suffering money if they are at fault in an accident?

Asked on February 22, 2011 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is not the easiest thing to explain in this type of forum but here it goes. When you are injured in a car accident damages for pain and suffering are categorized as non-economic loss and they are often very difficult to determine.  When a jury decides pain and suffering they also determine what is known as comparative negligence.  So if you sue and are awarded $100 but are found 100% at fault then you get nothing.  If you are found 80% at fault then you would get $20.  I would consult with an attorney in this matter.  Consultations are generally free in personal injury cases so it should not cost you anything to figure out your case at least in generalities.  Good luck to you.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Compensation for pain and suffering would be paid to the person who is NOT at fault in the accident.  However, if the person who was at fault in the accident was not 100% at fault, and the other party was also at fault in the accident, then limited compensation may be available.

This would occur under the doctrine of comparative negligence.  For example, if you caused an auto accident, and were found to be 80% liable and the other party was found to be 20% liable, then you could recover 20% of your damages (compensation) from the other party while the other party could recover 80% of his/her damages from you because you were 80% liable.


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