Even though drivers try to abide by safe practices and adhere to the rules of the road, accidents still happen. Auto accident victims can face costly medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other unanticipated expenses that create a significant amount of stress. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, there is a legal process for pursuing compensation that can be used to cover many of these expenses. Here are a few things you should know about auto accident fault determination rules in California and how to get started.
California’s At-Fault System
Most states adhere to either an at-fault or no-fault insurance system. California’s at-fault insurance system dictates that the party responsible for causing the accident should be held financially liable for the victim’s injuries or other claims. In general, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be obligated to compensate the injured party. Should the victim find the proposed amount of compensation insufficient, they have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to obtain additional damages.
The process of determining which driver was responsible for the auto accident is typically handled through negotiations between insurance companies. It’s important to note that both parties can be held responsible to various degrees; for example, after reviewing statements, police reports, and other evidence, it may be determined that the other driver was 80 percent responsible for the accident, while you carry 20 percent of the responsibility. This means that a judge may award you the compensation you are requesting, but you will only be entitled to receive 80 percent of the total amount.
How an Attorney Can Help
Many accidents may only result in minor scrapes that do not require a large amount of compensation. However, if you’ve been injured or faced substantial financial costs originating from the accident, it’s in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney right away to discuss your options. Even if you think you can handle negotiations on your own, insurance companies are notorious for trying to dismiss or downplay your claims. Your attorney can step in and handle these difficult conversations while you focus on what matters most—your recovery.
For more information on what steps to take following an auto accident in the Temecula, Murrieta, or Riverside area, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation at (951) 489-3320 today to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.