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Proving Fault in a Car Accident

Posted on in Personal Injury

When there is a car wreck, injured parties deserve to be compensated for personal injury and vehicle damage when it was someone else’s fault. But, determining who is at fault can sometimes be a complex question. Moreover, California follows a “comparative fault” doctrine, meaning multiple parties can be considered at fault for an accident. When this occurs, the issue becomes determining what degree of fault each party had. Here are some of the major factors courts will consider when allocating fault.

Whether a Driver Broke the Rules of the Road

California, like every other state, has codified certain traffic laws. If these laws are broken and the violation was a substantial factor in causing an accident, there is a presumption that the driver in violation was at fault.

The Type of Accident

For certain types of accidents, fault is usually predictable. For instance, rear-end collisions are almost always the fault of the driver of the car that was coming from behind, and accidents involving left-hand turns are usually the fault of the car turning left. However, there are exceptions to these rules of thumb. A rear-end accident where a driver changed lanes recklessly or was driving without brake lights may not be the fault of the driver that hit them from behind. Similarly, a driver running a red light or excessively speeding may be at fault when hit in an intersection by a driver turning left.

What a Police Report Says

Car accidents may or may not have a police report. If there is a police report, the opinion of the reporting officer can be powerful evidence of fault. In these cases, it is important for a person involved in a car wreck to be familiar with what the police report says.

If you would like more information about this issue, please contact us.

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