Can be two judgments in the same PI case – one for the plaintiff for liability and the second one for the defendant for damage?

Asked over 1 year ago - Beverly Hills, CA

In an Auto accident case the other side accepted liability but disagrees as to the amount of damages. If the case goes for trial, am I correct in my assumption that it could be only one judgment for the plaintiff, although the jury can award no or nominal amount as damages? Is there a possibility that it could be a judgment for the defendant despite the fact of admitted fault? Could it be two judgments in the same case – one for the plaintiff for liability and the second one for the defendant for damages?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Jeffrey David Bohn

    Contributor Level 12

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The answer to your question as you state it is. "Yes", "No" and "no.". But the answer is more complicated. The decision regarding liability (fault) must be in a party's favor before a determination of damages can be made. The judge can find that the defendant is liable and then find that damages are zero. And a judgement would issue in your favor for $0 in damages BUT you would be awarded the costs of the lawsuit which can be substantial. In your case if the def. admits fault, the trial would ONLY be about damages. If the def. wins as to the issue of damages, the judge would order you to pay his costs of suit. But then there is the issue of Civ. Code Sec. 998 offers and legal costs of proof which are also taken into consideration, but which there is no time to address here.

    California Injury Lawyer

  2. Benjamin P. Cloward

    Contributor Level 10

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am assuming you have an attorney helping you with this. Yes, you could win the liability portion of the suit, but not be awarded any damages. As the previous poster indicated, if the defendant had made a statutory offer, which you fail to beat at trial, you could be penalized and have to pay the defendant's attorney's fees and costs, which could be substantial.

  3. Scott J. Corwin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you have an attorney representing you, then you should be asking him or her these questions. That being said, if you are not currently represented by an attorney, then I would strongly recommend that you consult with a local attorney to review your case and advise you further. I have over 20 years of experience defending my clients' rights and I know how to get my clients the settlements they deserve. If you are interested in a free consultation, do not hesitate to call me at my office: (310) 479-1439.

  4. Michael Shemtoub

    Contributor Level 17

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . First, let me express my sincere regret that you are having to endure this difficult situation If you do not already have one, you should have an attorney experienced in this type of claim review your documentation, including the police report, and discuss what options you may have. If you do already have an attorney, you should address your concerns with him. I have personally dealt with many other California claims such as this one. Having proper representation is the only way to protect your cause of action.

    View my website & give me a call for a FREE consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can... more
  5. George Costas Andriotis

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes there can be a judgement with regard to liability. If the Plaintiff prevails in liability doesn't assure victory on damages and yes the defendant can be awarded damages if offers were made prior to Trial and certain conditions weren't made.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at www.serviceandjustice.com.
  6. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . One never knows what the judge or jury will award.

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