Fault in a car accident might sound easy to establish, but it could be more complicated than most people would like to think. Complications often occur when more than one party is involved in a crash or when you are partly to blame.
Without a proper understanding of the laws in California and their real-life applications, it is easy to miss out on compensation. However, consulting with an Orange County personal injury attorney can give you clarity on your case.
When is Fault Determined on the Road?
Instincts at times push drivers to point fingers at each other. But if the incident intensely shakes the driver, they might blame themselves. This might be accompanied by an admission of fault, such as, “I didn’t see the stop sign.”
Such admissions made in the heat of the moment can haunt the drivers if they get to court. Witnesses present at the scene can testify about it if the driver changes their mind and decides to shift the blame from themselves.
How Do the Police Determine Fault?
Apart from calling for medical help, the police are responsible for assessing an accident scene in Orange County. They usually note the damage to each vehicle and check their positions to report what might have happened before the crash.
Possible situations include:
- A car stopping at a red light and gets hit from behind
- A vehicle that careened through a stop sign and T-boned another one
The police officer makes a diagram of its findings – information that insurance companies can use. Your Orange County car accident lawyer can also read the report when it becomes available, and use it as a roadmap for your case.
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Fault?
Most insurance companies avoid litigation because of the costs involved. They often try and resolve the fault issue amongst themselves. Each driver usually files a claim with their insurance company accompanied by pictures.
If you file virtually, the algorithms will instantly evaluate the damages. Once all the involved drivers have filed, the insurance companies can jointly analyze the accident and establish who is at fault. Most opt for arbitration if they encounter challenges agreeing on whose client was negligent.
What Happens When a Car Accident Case Makes it to Court?
Personal injury cases that could not reach an agreement after negotiations usually end up in litigation. The jury’s decision on who is at fault is usually final, and not even the Supreme Court can overturn their verdict. Therefore, victims of vehicle accidents that choose to address the case in court ought to get it right.
Evidence and witness testimonies are critical determinants of the verdict. An Orange County car accident attorney can put together everything you need to prove the other party’s negligence and earn a compensation award.
How Can I Use California’s Vehicle Code to Prove Fault
The driver that was violating the California Vehicle Code isn’t automatically the faulty party in an accident. These grounds can only give you leverage if you can show that:
- The violation was a significant contributor to the accident
- The other driver violated this law
Drivers engaging in distracted driving or driving while drunk before the accident, might be held liable for the accident. The police can tell if a driver is drunk during questioning, and witness testimonies might add evidence of the violations. Talk to a skilled Orange County car accident lawyer to find out how you can use this argument to your advantage.
How is Liability Established in Left Turn and Rear-End Accidents?
If you are driving straight ahead and get hit by a vehicle turning left, it is almost always the other party’s fault. As a driver going straight, you always have the right of way. However, this rule might not apply if you ran a red light/stop sign or were speeding.
Rear-end accidents are normally the fault of the driver hitting the other from behind, but there are exceptions. For example, if another driver dangerously switches lanes, comes right in front of you, and slams on their brakes, the rear accident could be their fault. However, you might need video footage or firm witness testimonies to prove this.
How Can I Use Scene Evidence to Prove Liability?
Evidence from the accident scene is an excellent resource for proving fault in Orange County. It is critical to take as many photos as possible because these types of evidence can be tampered with real fast.
You might want to have photographs of:
- The weather conditions
- Any car body parts
- Broken windshield
- Skid marks
- The damage
- The vehicle positions
- The roads
- The environmental details
- The road geography
- Road debris
These photos might be really instrumental in accident reconstruction.
How is Fault Shared Among At-Fault Drivers?
In California’s pure comparative negligence arrangement, injured parties can receive damages as long as they are not 100% at fault for the accident. So, if you are partly to blame for an accident, the jury determines each party’s percentage of fault.
Make sure that you have an experienced and persuasive Santa Ana car accident lawyer representing you throughout the litigation process. Reducing your fault percentage might not significantly impact the final amount if you can get the maximum possible compensation.
Experienced Attorneys Helping Victims Recover Compensation
There’s a lot at stake if you have been involved in a car accident. You could be left with medical bills to pay and car repairs to make. And all these can put a lot of unexpected financial burden on you or your family. Worse, if someone you love succumbs to the injuries. Besides, the court only awards compensation after you’ve proven fault.
The process of proving fault requires extensive experience and skills. And the attorneys at Gibson & Hughes have just that. We can represent you, help you gather evidence specific to your case, and fight for the maximum possible compensation. Speak to us today to discuss your case with us in detail.