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

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. 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. 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. 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.

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  4. 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.

  5. 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 email me at I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference

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