are one of the most common causes of injuries and property damage. If you have been involved in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensatory damages. Such damages cover medical costs of crash-related injuries, property damage, lost wages as well as pain and suffering.
When it comes to car accident claims, fault is an important concept. Here’s a look at what legal fault is and how it relates to Irvine car accident compensation claims.
What is Fault in a Car Accident?
Fault refers to the negligence of a given party in causing the crash. For instance, if a driver ran a red light and caused the accident, he is an at-fault party. There can be more than one at-fault party in a car accident. If a driver ran a red light, for instance, and a second was speeding, both may be held at fault. When that is the case, a percentage of fault is assigned to all the at-fault parties.
How Fault Affects Car Accident Cases?
California is an at-fault state
. This means that any compensatory damages you seek as a car accident victim must be paid by the at-fault driver. This is in contrast to no-fault states where your own insurer must cover you for the accident-related losses.
For this reason, the determination of fault in an Irvine car accident is critically important to a compensation claim filed in connection with it. If the other driver is found at-fault, you are entitled to receive damages from him or her. If the other parties involved in the crash are not found at-fault, you may not be able to receive any compensation at all.
California’s Pure Negligence Rule
California has a pure negligence rule that determines how fault figures into car accident claims across the state. As per this rule, you can recover compensation in a car accident claim no matter what your percentage of fault is. The actual amount you receive will simply be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
For instance, if you are found 20% at fault in an accident and the court entitled you to $10,000 in damages, the actual amount you receive will be $8,000. Similarly, if your fault is 80%, you will still be eligible to receive $2,000.
Determining Fault in a Car Crash
Two factors play a decisive role in determining fault in a car crash. These include witnesses and evidence. Here’s a look at both.
A large body of evidence is typically considered in a car accident claim. This may include the police report, any statements given by the parties involved, photographs of the car crash scene, the nature of damage to the vehicles, and the medical documentation of the injuries that occurred. It may be possible to gather some of this evidence on your own. For instance, you can snap photographs of the crash scene if you are conscious and able after the crash. You can also obtain medical documentation from your physician to back up your claimed injuries. However, in many cases, you will need legal help to gather other types of evidence such as videos from any cameras that captured the incident.
The second factor in determining fault is witnesses. Witnesses play a vital role in helping a court understand how an incident occurred. Together with the available evidence, witness statements are used to determine who the at-fault party is. This is why you should try to gather the contact information of any witnesses who may have been present at the scene of your crash.
A court may seek the advice of medical professionals, accident reconstruction experts, and others to determine the fault in a car accident. Similarly, the testimony of others who didn’t witness the accident first-hand, such as an ambulance worker who transported the injured or a previous physician who treated you before the crash, can also prove valuable.
Hiring an Irvine Car Crash Attorney
If you have been injured in a car crash in Irvine, it is important that you hire a reputable attorney at the earliest. California has a two-year statute of limitations for car accident cases. The attorneys at the Crockett Law Group can help you gather the relevant evidence and file a claim well before this timeline expires. We also work with you to ensure that you meet other legal requirements to improve your odds of winning the claim. Call us today
for a free consultation with our attorneys and discuss your case in a one-on-one session.