How Is Fault Determined in a California Car Crash?
California is an at-fault state, which means that courts determine who’s at fault to determine compensation. And with there being more than 3,540 vehicle motor deaths recorded between 2014-2020, courts receive lots of compensations claims.
By determining who’s at fault for compensation, victims get proper reimbursement for all damages incurred by the car accident. It’s because the person who was at fault for the accident has to pay the victim’s compensation claims.
There are so many factors affecting compensation claims. So, read on to find out how the state of California determines fault in an auto accident.
Determining Fault in a California Car Crash
According to California’s Auto Insurance laws, car owners should have $5,000 property damage coverage and $15,000 body injury coverage per person. According to this, victims of accidents involving three people stand to receive $45,000 as compensation.
It’s the at-fault driver’s insurance company that covers or pays for the compensation. However, it’s not always an amount the victim is happy with.
So, the victim can always file for an auto accident claim for uncompensated damages if they aren’t satisfied with the compensation received.
Car wreck compensation is determined by taking into consideration factors like the extent of:
- Damage incurred
- The at-fault party’s negligence
- The victim’s participation in the car crash
There are three main ways of determining fault in an auto accident:
1. Determining Fault Through Negligence
The most crucial part of filing an auto accident claim is proving the other party’s negligence. It demonstrates that the other party had a duty to perform reasonably but failed to do so.
It’s because every driver is bound, and has to exercise a reasonable amount of caution while driving.
Elements that determine negligence include:
- Driver’s breach of duty to safely operate the vehicle
- Losses and damages incurred through the accident
- Driver’s actions that cause the accident
Examples of negligence include:
- Aggressive driving
- Not signaling
- Driving while texting or with other distractions
- Driving when tired
- Poor vehicle maintenance
2. Determining Fault Based on a Violation of Rules or Laws
Any driver is also presumed to be at fault if they violate any California Vehicle Code provision. So knowing if there was a violation of driving rules or law is another way of determining fault.
Violations like speeding, driving under the influence and jumping lights are easier to prove fault.
3. Determining Fault Based on Comparative Fault
Comparing both parties’ amount of fault determines the compensation amount for some cases. It’s especially adopted if evidence suggests that even the victim may have contributed to the accident. The victim’s receivable compensation amount is affected if they had contributed to the accident.
What to Do After the Accident
Both parties should take the following steps after the accident:
- Report the accident to the police
- Seek medical attention
- Find witnesses as they account for the incident
- Collect the other driver’s information and insurance policy details
- The injured party should preferably file a claim against the at-fault party and not against their insurance companies. It’s always better to hire a Burbank auto accident lawyer to help with the claim process and negotiations.
Who Determines Fault
It’s the parties’ insurance companies that determine who is at fault. They do it by collecting both parties’ accident statements and reviewing medical bills, police reports, and other relevant accident records.
Some accident victims may opt not to hire a lawyer because they consider their accident to be minor. However, it’s always better for accident victims to hire an auto accident attorney in Burbank.
Lawyers not only expedite the claim process but also strive to ensure you receive your maximum deserved compensation.