Hello, everyone. This is Robert Mansour, and I'm making this brief video today from my office to discuss the issue of liability when it comes to personal injury cases. When clients call my office for the very first time after an automobile accident, one of the questions that I ask them is, "What happened at the scene of the accident?" Did the other party admit fault for the accident or did they come out of their vehicle and start yelling at them accusing them of causing the accident? If a prospective client tells me, "Oh, the other guy, he got out of his car and he started pointing the finger at me. He said I ran the red light. He told the police officer I ran a red light, and then I told the officer no, he ran the red light."
You see what you have there? You have a "he said, she said" or "she said, he said," or whatever you want to call it. The point is that when your opinion about what happened differs from the other party's opinion, you're going to have something called "disputed liability." If you have disputed liability, here's how that plays out - You go home and you call the lawyer's office, and the other guy, he calls his lawyer's office. Now you are both coming after each other and suing each other and making claims against each other. Or never mind that. Let's say, for example, you bring a claim. He calls his insurance company. He says, "No, no, no...that's not what happened at all. The other fellow caused the accident." The point is this: If the insurance company for the responsible party believes their client, they're just not going to pay you. They're going to dig their heels in the sand, and you're going to have disputed liability.
People say, "Well, yeah. That's what a lawyer is for. That's why I'm calling a lawyer." This is when I have to explain to the client that if you have disputed liability and the insurance company for the responsible party is not budging and they're not seeing it your point of view, you have to ask yourself at that point, "Is it really worth involving a lawyer? Is it worth me spending two years in court, spending thousands of dollars to pursue this person and bring a claim against them?" Frankly, you're not really going to be involving that person at all. It's really going to be between you and their insurance company most of the time. They may not even know that you're doing anything. It's all happening behind the scenes.
I tell clients that it might be worth the fight if, for example, you have injuries that are so severe that you are in a wheelchair for the rest of your life or you had major surgery as a result of the accident or some other significant injury. Then it might be worth two years of your time or more fighting in court with a lawsuit, paying thousands of dollars to go through this. If all you've got is some minor whiplash from the accident, I think you should think two or three times about bringing a claim against the other party because all you're going to do is dig yourself into a financial hole, at least conceivably. Then you end up worse off than you currently are.
Just because the other party is disagreeing with you doesn't necessarily mean you should file a claim. Even though it might not feel right to you and it might be upsetting and frustrating, but sometimes you just have to do the smart thing. One of the issues is liability. By the way, just because the other party admits fault to the accident doesn't necessarily mean that party's insurance company is going to agree with their client's assessment. They may disagree and they may still decide to fight you on the issue of liability. Then you have to weigh and balance your options, and decide whether it is a wise decision to bring a claim or not.
Thank you very much for watching this video. I hope you found it very helpful. If you have any questions regarding your personal injury case, please feel free to contact my office. Thank you very much. Call (661) 414-7100 if you need help with your personal injury case.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,