Determining Fault in an Accident

Whenever you have a car accident, you will have to deal with a lot of pain, medical appointments, and multiple bills. Most people have to rely on insurance to pay their bills after a car accident. Establishing who is at fault in a collision in the state of California can be critical to getting your bills paid.

Insurance in The Golden State

California is a tort state when it comes to auto insurance. This means that the person who is responsible for causing an accident is also responsible for paying its bills.

In most tort states, a person can only receive compensation for an accident if they were less than 50% responsible for the collision. California is a comparative fault state which means that each driver is responsible for the portion of the accident they caused. For example, if the driver who hit you is 60% responsible for an accident, their insurance company would be 60% responsible for your bills.

In most comparative fault states, a driver must be less than 50% responsible for an accident to collect money from an insurance company. California is a pure comparative fault state which means that a person can collect money from the other driver's insurance company even if that driver was only 10% at fault.

The pure comparative fault rule is why insurance companies pay such careful attention to proving who caused an accident. There are a few different ways you can prove fault.

What is considered negligence?

When a person drives a car, they have a duty of care. This means they must take the precautions that a reasonable person must take to avoid an accident. They must not drive when they are fatigued or drunk. They should never text when they drive. A driver must follow the rules of the road, and they must maintain their vehicle properly.

If a person ignores their duty of care and it results in an accident, they may be considered negligent.

Establishing Negligence

There are a few different ways that you can establish the other driver was negligent in an accident. When you have a collision, you should pull over to the side of the road and contact the police.

You should get the name, number, and insurance information from the other driver. You should also get the names and numbers of witnesses and take pictures of the accident scene and vehicles if you can.

It is important to save every medical bill that is related to the crash. You should save bills from psychiatric treatment and alternative treatments as well.

It is a good idea to get your employer to write you a letter stating the number of hours you have missed from work. Be sure to save the bills for housekeeping, child care, or Lyft rides you may have had to take.

Who decides?

Insurance adjusters will investigate the documentation and evidence provided to them by their clients and the police. They will decide if the company should pay the claim. They will also decide how much money to offer a person if their claim is accepted.

When You Need a Lawyer

If the insurance company denies your claim, you may want to talk to an attorney to see if they think you should sue. If the insurance company does accept your claim, you should contact a lawyer before you accept it. Insurance companies will often try to lowball injured people so they can keep their money in-house.

A trained personal injury lawyer will have years of experience negotiating with insurance companies, and they will be able to get you the money that you deserve. Click here to learn more.

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Posted - 11/17/2021