How is Fault Determined in a California Car Accident?
If you or somebody you love has been involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you should be able to secure compensation for your losses. Car accidents are not uncommon in California. According to the state Office of Traffic Safety, more than 273,000 people were injured, and more than 3,800 people were killed during the latest reporting year of data available. For those injured in an accident, determining liability is a vital part of receiving adequate compensation.
Determining Fault Involves Many Factors
Determining fault is important because insurers need this information before they can offer a settlement for your losses. One of the most important factors in determining liability and compensation will be the accident report completed by the police. When the police conduct an investigation into a crash, their report will usually contain the following information:
The vehicle positions
Tire skid marks
Vehicle debris on the roadway
Noted damage to the vehicles
However, the police report is not the only way that fault can be determined. For these cases, a more comprehensive investigation may be required. It may be a good idea for a car accident victim to enlist the help of a skilled and experienced attorney who has the resources necessary to prove liability. An Ontario car accident attorney will also use the following to help your case:
Any photographs taken at the scene of the crash
Video surveillance from nearby homes or businesses
Statements from other drivers, passengers, or eyewitnesses at the crash
The California Vehicle Code Can Help You
The California Vehicle Code can be your friend in these instances. If the other driver violated the law when they caused the accident, this will provide an accident victim with more leverage to prove liability. If a victim can show that the other driver violated the law and that the violation was a substantial factor in causing the accident, this can be used to maximize an insurance settlement.
What if There Was More Than One Party at Fault?
Under California’s contributory negligence laws, even a driver who was partially at fault for an accident can still recover compensation. However, in these cases, the amount of compensation a person receives will be reduced based on the percentage of fault they had for the incident. For example, if a car accident victim is awarded $10,000 in damages in the aftermath of a crash, but it is determined that they were 20% at fault for the incident, they would only receive $8,000 in total damages.
What Kind of Compensation Is Available in a Car Accident Case?
There are various types of compensation available to victims who are injured due to the actions of another driver. While each case is different, it is not uncommon for victims to recover the following:
Coverage of all medical bills related to the crash
Compensation for any out-of-pocket or household expenses incurred
Lost wages and benefits if they are unable to work
Pain and suffering damages
For instances in which the negligent at-fault driver was grossly negligent or was malicious in their actions, punitive damages may also be awarded. The total amount of compensation awarded to a car accident victim depends on several factors, including the severity of the injuries, how long it takes for a victim to recover, the amount of income they lose, and their total pain and suffering.