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Home | California Car Accident Fault Determination Rules

California Car Accident Fault Determination Rules

by | Sep 19, 2022 | Car Accidents

California is one of many US states to enforce a fault-based system for resolving car accidents. The state requires all drivers to carry auto insurance that includes liability coverage. This coverage comes into play if the policyholder causes an accident with another driver, and the policy must meet the state’s minimum coverage requirements. The insurance claim process may seem straightforward, but many injured car accident victims experience unexpected problems with their car accident claims. It’s also possible that car insurance will not fully cover the damages you incurred.

Whether you expect insurance to cover your damages after an accident or you expect to face further legal proceedings to recover your losses, determining fault will be essential for resolving your case. If your situation demands expansive legal recourse, you must prove how your accident happened to succeed with an auto insurance claim, a personal injury claim, or both.

Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys can provide the legal guidance you need after a car accident in Southern California. We have helped many past clients through difficult personal injury claims, and we’ll put this experience to work in your case. In addition, if you have complex questions regarding fault for your recent car accident, we can help you clarify your understanding of how fault applies in a personal injury case.

Proving Fault for a Car Accident

When another driver has caused an accident with your vehicle and/or injured you, it’s vital to know how to hold them accountable. Auto insurance is usually the first step in a victim’s recovery from a motor vehicle accident, but only if the at-fault driver has insurance. If you intend to file an insurance claim, you must identify the driver responsible for causing your accident and prove they are liable for your damages.

Car accidents happen in many ways, from distracted driving to driving under the influence (DUI) and speeding. If another driver is responsible for causing your accident, you must prove they were negligent, failed to uphold a specific duty of care, or were intentionally harmful, directly resulting in your claimed damages. Some ways you can potentially accomplish this in a motor vehicle accident claim include:

  • Physical evidence from the accident scene, such as debris and the placement of the vehicles after the collision.
  • Eyewitness accounts. If anyone saw your accident, their recollection could be invaluable for proving liability for the incident. The police report from your accident should include contact details for eyewitnesses identified by responding officers, and your attorney can assist you in formally obtaining their statements.
  • Expert witness testimony. Some accidents happen in surprising and complex ways. Therefore, you may need outside assistance to prove exactly how your accident occurred. For example, your attorney may consult an accident reconstruction expert who can explain the physics that were in play in your accident, establishing fault for the resulting damages.

Every vehicle accident case is unique, and every driver faces complex variables as they strive to recover their damages from a motor vehicle accident someone else caused. Distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and reckless driving are just a few ways drivers can incur liability for substantial civil damages in California.

Comparative Fault in California Personal Injury Claims

A plaintiff in a personal injury case can face partial liability for their own damages. California uses pure comparative negligence statutes, so a plaintiff’s partial fault for a personal injury translates to diminished compensation for their damages. There is no threshold of fault that would bar plaintiff recovery under the state’s pure comparative fault rule. The plaintiff simply loses part of the case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing the incident in question.

FAQs About California Car Accident Fault Determination Rules

How Can I Prove Fault for My Recent Accident?

Successfully establishing liability for your recent vehicle accident damages is likely to require physical evidence, witness testimony, and possibly input from expert witnesses. Your Garden Grove car accident attorney will be essential for building a solid case against the defendant, securing a fair insurance claim settlement, and succeeding with a personal injury claim by establishing the defendant’s liability.

Can Multiple Drivers Share Fault for a Car Accident?

Multiple-vehicle collisions can occur in many different ways, and determining liability for these events can be very tricky. If you are unsure who is to blame for your recent car accident or if you are concerned that you bear partial fault for the incident, an experienced Garden Grove car accident attorney can offer valuable guidance in these situations. California has a pure comparative fault rule, so a plaintiff could share fault for their damages and still have the right to recover compensation. It is also possible for multiple defendants to share liability for a plaintiff’s damages in different amounts.

How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Car Accident in California?

The time it will take you to fully recover compensation for your car accident damages hinges on the severity of your damages and how the accident occurred. If the other driver’s fault is clear and their insurance is enough to cover your losses, it could only take a few weeks to obtain an insurance settlement. Alternatively, if more than one driver bears fault for your damages, or if liability is contested and your case must proceed to litigation, it could take several months to resolve.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney?

Legal counsel is an invaluable asset when you must file an insurance claim after a motor vehicle accident, and it is especially crucial when you must file a personal injury suit against the party responsible for your damages. When you have legal counsel that you can trust, you will be equipped to meet your case’s challenges and will be more likely to maximize your final compensation.

The lawyers at Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys have the legal experience and resources you need on your side after suffering injuries in a car accident someone else caused. Our team knows the stress and uncertainty that any accident can cause for victims and their families, and we strive to help you recover as fully as possible from your experience. Contact us today to set up a consultation with our team if you’re unsure of your options for legal recourse after an accident that someone else caused.

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