Was the Accident Caused by Someone Else?
If your car accident was caused by the actions of another person or an entity, you might have the grounds to file a claim. You might have a claim if the accident was caused by another driver or resulted from a road defect. You might also have a claim if you believe that your accident was caused by a defective component in your vehicle. Finally, you might want to consult with a car accident lawyer if the fault in your accident is unclear.
How Fault is Determined in California
California is a "comparative fault" state. This means a percentage of fault can be apportioned to more than one party. For example, if a car turns left in front of oncoming traffic, they are probably at fault for not yielding the right of way but, if the driver that hits them is speeding through a yellow light turning to red, they may have some percentage of fault as well. In this case, the driver making the left may be deemed 80% at fault and liable to the driver going straight for personal injuries but, because they were speeding, they may have their claim reduced by 20% for their own fault in the accident.
How Can and Attorney Assist in Determining Fault in an Auto Accident Claim?
An attorney can provide valuable assistance in determining fault in an auto accident case. Here are some ways that an attorney can help:
Investigating the Accident: An attorney can investigate the accident to determine the cause and fault. This may involve obtaining police reports, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing physical evidence such as skid marks and damage to the vehicles involved. Most quality attorneys have access to private investigators, accident reconstruction experts and other resources to better evaluation fault.
Identifying Liability: An attorney can help identify liability by reviewing the facts of the case and applying the law to the situation. They can determine if the other driver was negligent or violated traffic laws, which may establish fault.
Calculating Damages: An attorney can help calculate the damages resulting from the accident, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies may try to settle for a low amount. An attorney can negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement or take the case to court if necessary. Insurance companies tend to use "comparative fault" to reduce the offer of settlement. The attorney can advocate for your position on fault to maximize recovery.
Representing You in Court: If the case goes to court, an attorney can represent you and present your case to a judge and jury. They can present evidence and testimony that supports your claim and fight for your rights.
Overall, an attorney can provide valuable assistance in determining fault in an auto accident case. They can help you understand your legal rights and options, calculate damages, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.