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How Is Fault Determined in a California Car Accident?

After an accident, you may experience a flood of thoughts, especially if you or your loved ones have sustained injuries. One of those thoughts might be: who is at fault for this? The determination of fault seems like an easy concept, and sometimes it is. However, other times it can become quite complicated and frustrating for many after the insurance companies get involved. This is one of the reasons that hiring a California car accident lawyer is imperative to your ability to file a claim for compensation.

Benchmark Injury Law specializes in helping car accident victims, including holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

What to Know About Determining Fault After a Collision

Determining fault after a collision is a complex process. California is a comparative negligence state. This means that it is possible for more than one person to be legally responsible for the damages caused to one or more individuals in a car collision. In fact, in this comparative negligence system, those who might claim damages resulting from a car collision may recover compensation even if they are assigned some measure of “fault” (i.e., legal responsibility) for the collision. In other words, multiple parties can be determined to be legally responsible for causing the collision, while at the same time, also recovering damages resulting from the collision. What a headache!.

Determining fault generally involves a number of different factors.  Some examples include the following:

  • Establishing negligence: Negligence is the failure of a party to exercise the proper degree of care. In the legal world, this is demonstrated by showing that a duty to act in a certain way existed, and then showing that duty was breached. For example, speeding through an intersection against a red light is breaching the duty of care expected from all drivers in California.
  • The California Vehicle Code: If the driver of the other vehicle violated a provision of the California Vehicle Code, the driver is often presumed to have acted negligently, which is called negligence “per se.” For example, in our red light example above, California Vehicle Code Section 21453(a) requires that a driver stops at the marked limit line when facing a steady red light. If instead, the driver speeds through the red light trying to beat the signal, that is a clear violation of 21453(a), and is presumed negligence.

It’s important to note that after the accident, it may be wise to call the police and to remain on the scene until law enforcement officers arrive. Police can analyze the scene and interview witnesses, both of which will be included in the police report. This is important preservation of evidence just in case someone tries to change their story later on. In addition, if police officers believe that one driver violated the law, they may issue a citation, which can be further evidence of negligence.

Ultimately, determining fault in your specific case comes down to having a California car accident lawyer who has the experience and strong legal knowledge. At Benchmark Injury Law, we have helped countless car accident victims receive fair compensation for their injuries. And, the earlier we can get involved, the better… Call us before speaking with those tricky insurance companies!

Schedule a Free Consultation With a California Car Accident Lawyer to Help Determine Fault

We know how insurance companies work, and we know what it takes to properly establish legal responsibility after a car accident. Attorney Shaun Phillips and our team at Benchmark Injury Law will work closely with you to establish the facts of the accident, preserve and produce the evidence, ensuring that the responsible parties are held to account for their actions. . Having a knowledgeable, experienced California car accident lawyer on your side is key to successfully pursuing compensation and recouping the costs associated with a motor vehicle accident.

Schedule a free consultation today to have a clear understanding of the full range of your options. Call us at (949) 504-9031 or contact us online.

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