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How is fault determined in a car accident in California?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2020 | Firm News

It’s an unfortunate reality that car accidents are an everyday occurrence in the United States. In California alone, there were 3,563 total traffic fatalities in 2018 and countless more severe damages and injuries.

But no matter how common car accidents are, when you’re a car accident victim yourself, it can often feel confusing and overwhelming to know who is at fault after an accident and who is responsible for paying for damages. Whether a minor crash or significant collision, here’s everything you need to know about determining who is at fault in a car accident.

Understanding at-fault laws

In the U.S., states can have an either no-fault or at-fault system for insurance claims. If a victim is seeking compensation for their injuries or damage to their property, they must prove that the other driver was at fault in their claims. California is an at-fault state, which means that the driver responsible for the accident will also have to pay for the other driver’s damages.

Insurance adjusters from each party’s insurance provider will review evidence from the accident, including the police report, witness statements, photos, medical bills, or other relevant records to determine who was at fault in the accident and the amount of compensation. However, if the victim doesn’t agree with the amount of payment offered, they can file a personal injury lawsuit for uncompensated damages.

How do you prove fault in an accident?

To prove another drove was at-fault in an accident, you must be able to prove they were negligent behind the wheel. Essentially, you must prove that the other driver acted in a manner that a reasonable driver wouldn’t do in the same circumstances. Some examples of negligence while driving can include:

  • Texting while driving or other distractions
  • Driving aggressively
  • Failure to maintain their vehicle
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to signal or yield
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Violations of traffic laws

To receive payment for damages and injuries after a car accident in California, you must be able to prove that the other driver was at fault. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help determine how much compensation may be available for your case.