California Car Accident Fault Laws
How to Determine Who’s At-Fault in a California Car Accident
Determining who is at-fault for a car accident can be a bit tricky. There is a difference between who caused the collision and who is legally at-fault. The driver who triggered the incident will have their insurance company pay for injuries and damages done to other parties involved in the car accident.
Normally, the driver who initiated the accident would have to pay for all the damages they caused. However, there is a complicated system of determining fault. There is a chance of having a percentage of the blame distributed to each driver that contributed to any part in causing or failing to avoid the collision -- in California, this is known as comparative negligence. This means that there may be different monetary obligations for each party involved.
In general, any driver who violates traffic laws is subject to face consequences for their actions. If one of the drivers is given a citation for running a light or a stop sign - or any other traffic violation, then they will be at-fault and carry the most liability.
Victims of a car accident are welcomed to contact our qualified car accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers. We have over 60 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases. With our track record of recovering more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your case.
Determining Liability in a Car Accident
Determining liability after a car accident in California can be a complex process, especially when multiple parties are involved, but it is generally based on negligence. This means that the negligent driver who caused harm to another driver will typically be held liable for any injuries sustained, as well as the resulting damages.
As it relates to car accidents, negligence is usually some form of careless or reckless behavior. Common examples of driver negligence include:
- Driving while under the influence
- Not paying attention to the road
- Disobeying traffic laws
Negligent behavior is unacceptable. Every driver has a duty of care while behind the wheel. This means that all drivers are legally responsible for using reasonable care while operating a vehicle. They must also be mindful of pedestrians and road conditions, as well as maintain control of their vehicle.
If you were injured by another driver, you must be able to show that the other party’s negligence directly caused your injuries. The legal standard for negligence in the state of California will consider the following three elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care,
- The defendant breached his or her duty of care through negligence, and
- The defendant’s negligence was the primary cause of the injuries sustained.
Supporting Your Claim
To support your claim, it is best to act immediately after the accident took place. There are various elements to help ensure you are backed up with a sufficient amount of evidence.
Two key actions are to file police reports and insurance claims. Additionally, try to take notes of what happened and get each party's name, phone number, and comments on the accident. You can get their perspective on what they saw and compare it with what you witnessed to get an overall idea on what may have been the main cause of the accident.
Overall, making an appropriate determination on who is primarily at-fault for the collision includes:
- Admissions by the drivers.
- Statements made by witnesses.
- Reports by police officers.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a car accident, our qualified car accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
They know what they're doing, very well. Not only did I not make a single phone call from the day I hired them, but I also received calls from their case managers and paralegals who want to make sure my treatment was going well. They whole team took care of me. Thank you WCTL for taking full responsibility of my case and getting me an amazing settlement.
I can say with confidence that this team is the best in the business. . . . Dean took the time to really listen and hear me out. He assured me that he was going to move mountains because he believed in me, and he ended up doing just that. I’ve never met a more focused and passionate attorney in my life. If you’re looking for a firm that treats its clients with the utmost respect and care, calling WCTL is a no-brainer. I wouldn't think twice about working with them again in the future.