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Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC
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How Is Fault Determined in a California Car Accident Claim?

In California, fault in a car accident is determined through a combination of state traffic laws, evidence collected at the scene of the accident, and often the use of fault or comparative negligence rules. Here's a detailed breakdown of how fault is determined:

1. Evidence Collection
  • Police Reports: The police report from the accident scene is a crucial piece of evidence. Police officers document their observations, statements from the drivers and witnesses, and sometimes their opinion on who was at fault.
  • Photographs and Videos: Photos and videos from the accident scene, including damage to the vehicles, road conditions, traffic signs, and any relevant road markings, can help in establishing fault.
  • Witness Statements: Statements from people who saw the accident happen can support claims about how the accident occurred and who was at fault.
  • Accident Reconstruction: In complex cases, experts in accident reconstruction may be hired to analyze the accident and determine fault based on the evidence.
2. California Traffic Laws

Understanding the California Vehicle Code is essential in determining fault. Violations of these laws, such as running a red light, speeding, or failing to yield, can directly indicate fault.

3. Comparative Negligence System

California follows a "pure comparative negligence" system, which allows for fault to be distributed among all parties involved based on their degree of fault. This means that:

  • A party can recover damages even if they are 99% at fault, although their damages are reduced by their percentage of fault.
  • The determination of fault is critical because it directly affects the compensation each party can receive from the accident.
4. Insurance Company Investigations

Insurance companies conduct their investigations to determine fault. They review the police report, interview their policyholder and witnesses, and examine vehicle damage. Each insurer may come to its own conclusion regarding fault, which can lead to disputes between insurance companies. 5. Legal Determinations

When there's a dispute about fault or when significant injuries and damages are involved, the case may go to court. A judge or jury can determine fault based on the evidence presented by all parties.

Determining fault in a car accident involves a thorough review of all available evidence, a clear understanding of California law, and sometimes negotiation between insurance companies or a legal ruling. If you're involved in an accident where fault is disputed, it may be beneficial to consult with a personal injury attorney to navigate the complexities of your case.

Client Reviews
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.
I believe I made the best choice with Steven M Sweat, Personal Injury. I was very reluctant to go forward with my personal injury claim. I had a valid claim and I needed a professional attorney to handle it. I felt so much better when I let Steven take my case. His team did everything right and I am very satisfied. Stia P.
I have to say that Steve has been exemplary! I met Steve at a point with my case that I was ready to give up. He took the time and dealt with all of my concerns. Most importantly, he was present and listened to what I was going through. He was able to turn things around, put me and my case on the right track! The results were better that expected! Highly recommend!! Cody A.