Can You Sue If A Car Accident Is Your Fault? - Adamson Ahdoot

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What Happens When A Car Accident Is Your Fault?

August 21, 2023 Alan Ahdoot
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Establishing who is at fault in traffic collisions can be complex, as it depends on evidence and a number of factors. In most cases, crashes are the result of negligence. Understanding liability and insurance coverage is crucial. Especially, if the car accident was your fault.

Read on to learn more about how to determine fault in a car accident and the type of insurance that covers the damages if you’re responsible for the crash.

How is Fault Determined?

In California, fault in personal injury cases is determined based on pure comparative negligence rules. Both parties can claim damages proportionate to their percentage of fault. Unlike no-fault states, California allows both parties to file claims regardless of who caused the accident.

To determine the at-fault party, the state will look into witness testimony, pictures, or video footage of the collision. Determining who is liable for the accident relies heavily on the context, location, and extent of the injuries or vehicle damage. It is important to identify who is responsible for the collision to determine who will compensate for the damages and losses.

Can You Sue If A Car Accident Is Your Fault?

Yes. In California, you can file a claim regardless if it’s your fault. According to California’s pure comparative fault rules, you can recover compensation if you can prove that the other party is partly at fault, even if it’s only 15% or less.

How To Know If A Car Accident Is Your Fault

Generally, insurance companies determine who is at fault in car accidents. According to California accident law, at least one party should file a police report describing what happened within 24 hours after the accident. 

The police report will determine whether both parties broke any laws. The involved parties will provide copies of the police report to their insurance companies. Afterward, an insurance adjuster will review the documents such as medical bills and accident records to come up with a decision on their claims.

The insurance company will also find out who among the drivers is negligent. According to the California Vehicle Code, the owner of the vehicle is liable for the death or injury of the car accident victims.

What To Do After a Car Accident That Is Your Fault

Don’t let your emotions run high after an accident. Know your rights and check yourself for any injuries to ensure your safety.

emergency responders rescuing an injured person
The insurance of the at-fault party will compensate for the medical bills and other damages after a car accident.

Here’s what you need to do after an accident if it’s your fault:

Don’t Flee the Scene of the Accident

Leaving the accident scene can lead to hit-and-run criminal charges, regardless of fault. Always exchange information with involved parties and law enforcement. However, failure to cooperate may result in the withdrawal of your insurance and driving license.

Check for Injuries

If you or anyone involved in the accident sustains injuries, it’s essential to prioritize their well-being by immediately calling 911 for emergency medical assistance. Prompt medical attention can make a significant difference in the recovery process and can also play a crucial role when filing a personal injury claim.

After seeking initial diagnosis and treatment, it’s advisable to keep records of your medical bills. These records will be vital during the insurance evaluation process. Insurance companies will require documentation of your medical expenses to assess the extent of your injuries and determine the appropriate compensation for your claim.

File a Police Report

When involved in an accident, it’s crucial to file a police report as soon as possible. The police report serves as official documentation of the incident and can play a vital role in determining liability and insurance claims. When the police arrive at the scene, provide them with all the necessary details and cooperate fully with their investigation.

Ensure you provide an accurate and detailed account of what happened, including any relevant information about road conditions, weather, and the actions of all parties involved. If there are any witnesses present, try to obtain their contact information, as their statements can also be valuable in supporting your case.

Exchange Relevant Information

Collecting information from witnesses and other drivers is essential after an accident. If there are any witnesses present, take the time to gather their names and contact information. Their statements can play a crucial role in determining fault and providing additional evidence to support your claim.

Additionally, make sure to exchange car insurance details and contact numbers with all other drivers involved in the accident. This information is necessary for processing insurance claims and determining liability for the collision.

Take Pictures and Collect Other Potential Evidence

In addition to exchanging information with the other parties involved in the accident, it’s crucial to document the scene thoroughly. Take pictures of the vehicle damage and the accident location to preserve valuable evidence. These photographs can be essential when determining fault and proving the extent of damages.

Moreover, check if there are any surveillance cameras in the vicinity that might have captured the accident. If possible, try to obtain video footage from these cameras, as it can provide further verification of the incident and support your version of events.

But remember, the more evidence you gather at the scene, the stronger your case will be if you need to file a personal injury claim.

Report the Accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

In California, it’s crucial to file an accident report with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days of the incident. This notification is particularly important if the accident resulted in more than $1,000 in property damage or if anyone was killed or seriously injured.

Reporting the accident to the DMV helps document the details of the incident and ensures that the proper authorities are aware of the situation. 

By adhering to this requirement, you comply with state regulations and help facilitate the process of handling insurance claims and legal matters related to the accident. It also aids in establishing a clear record of the events for any potential investigations or legal proceedings.

Talk to a Lawyer

Regardless of fault, refrain from admitting liability without consulting a personal injury attorney first. With their expertise, you can navigate claim filing and settlement negotiations. At Adamson Ahdoot, our skilled lawyers ensure you receive rightful compensation for your injuries.

What Type of Insurance Covers Damages If You’re At Fault?

As the driver at fault, your insurance company will pay for the damages. This includes injuries, repairs, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and any out-of-pocket expenses under your policy.

Liability Car Insurance

As the at-fault party, your liability car insurance will cover the other party’s medical bills and lost income up to your policy limits. 

However, it won’t pay for your own medical bills, since you’re liable for the crash. The liability insurance covers bodily injuries and property damages with minimum amounts ranging from $5,000 to $30,000. In severe accidents resulting in death, additional costs may need to be paid out of pocket. 

Here are the types of damages you can claim:

  • Medical bills and other treatment costs
  • Prescription medications
  • Vehicle damage
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Speak with a Lawyer at Adamson Ahdoot

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, we can help you navigate the legal process. At Adamson Ahdoot, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers is here to guide you through every step of the process. 

Certainly, we’ll work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Don’t face the aftermath of an accident alone – trust our dedicated team to fight for your best interests.

Therefore, if you’d like to schedule your free consultation with a top injury lawyer, call us today at (800) 310-1606.

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Our team can better advise you on your legal options once we receive any available evidence about the incident.

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