Getting into a car accident is one scary experience. It’s sad that many Americans have gotten into an accident at least once in their lifetime. It’s completely out of your control. Now you have to deal with the insurance company. It may not even have been your fault and now you have to deal with it. What do you do? How do you prove the other driver was at fault? Fault is determined by the amount of negligence the other driver has. California has specific laws for proving negligence.
If you just have a small accident with no injuries or significant damage then it’s not necessary to report it. However, if you’re involved in an accident where any person (not necessarily the drivers or passengers of the vehicles) are injured or dies, then you must submit a written report within 24 hours to the California Highway Patrol. People often ask if they have to report an accident to the DMV. The DMV must be notified within 10 days in the state of California if there is any type of injury, minor or not, or if there is vehicle or property damage in excess of $750. Property damage meaning the damage of real property, for example, if the accident involved someone crashing into a restaurant.
When you get into a car accident in the state of California, it’s important to know that they are a “pure comparative negligence state”. This means that you can go after a fault driver even if you have some fault in the accident. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage at-fault. For example, you’re involved in an accident where the other driver switched lanes on you but you were texting while driving. You may found 20% at-fault in the car accident lawsuit and the other driver found at 80% at-fault. If your compensation awarded it $10,000 for damages (medical bills, loss of wages, vehicle damage) then you really would only get $8,000 because of your percentage at-fault. When trying to prove the other driver was at-fault, you may want to look at traffic laws or police reports. Certain accidents have “no-doubt” liability, meaning that the other driver is at-fault 99% of the time. These are typically left-turn accidents or rear-end accidents.
State Traffic Laws
State traffic laws are the perfect way to prove the other driver was at-fault for the accident. For this information, you can look to either the rules of the road in California’s statutes where it is typically known as the “Vehicle Code.” In the “Vehicle Code” look for listings that you believe were violated in your accident. For example, “speeding limit” could have been violated if the other driver was speeding when they hit you. Make sure you get the exact wording and also get the statute number. There’s a simplified version of the “Vehicle Code” called the “Rules of the Road” that can typically be found at your local DMV office. The “Vehicle Code” is usually available at all law libraries and can be found at most public libraries.
If the police came to the scene of the accident, then their written report is valuable information you should have. In order to get a copy of this information, you must ask the traffic division of your local law enforcement agency for it. The report may contain negligent behavior reported by the officer or their opinion if someone violated a specific traffic law. No matter how specific or vague, this information would be extremely helpful in trying to prove the other person was at-fault.
There are reckless drivers all on the road and plenty of accidents to prove it. No one’s ever prepared for a San Diego car accident. When you get into a car accident it scares you. It’s unfair, especially if it wasn’t your fault. Trying to fight with the insurance company is the last thing you want to do. You want a San Diego car accident attorney who is not only an expert in car accidents but is used to dealing with these and your unique cases. Eugene Bruno & Associates want to help you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a no hassle consultation today using this contact form or call us at 888-278-6688.