An unexpected accident can cause quite a headache. Medical bills can add up quickly, as can costs related to replacing and repairing damaged property. It can become difficult to take care of your day-to-day expenses, let alone the costs related to your accident. Fortunately, you’re entitled to compensation if someone else caused your accident and injury. You can file an insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit to obtain the money you deserve.
Fault for your accident must be established before you’ll be able to receive a financial award for your injuries. This can take time. You’ll certainly meet resistance from defendants and insurance companies along the way. The best thing you can do is hire an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer to handle your case.
Contact Injury Trial Lawyers, APC to find out how our legal team can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve after your accident. Your first consultation is free, so call for help today.
What Does It Mean to be at Fault for a San Diego Traffic Accident?
There are hundreds of traffic accidents in San Diego every day. Accidents don’t just happen out of the blue for no reason. Someone is always at fault. In most situations, being at fault means that you’ve been negligent and caused an accident to occur.
Negligence means that someone had a responsibility to act in a certain way, but failed to do so. As a result, someone got hurt. The person who is negligent in some way will generally be at fault for a San Diego traffic accident.
There are two ways that negligence can contribute to or cause an accident. The first involves actively doing something dangerous, such as speeding or drinking and driving. The second involves failing to do something that’s necessary to keep yourself or others safe, such as wearing a seatbelt or paying attention to the road.
Negligence Contributing to San Diego Traffic Accidents
Many factors are considered when determining fault for a car accident, including:
- Reckless driving
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Distracted driving (e.g., texting or talking on the phone, applying makeup, playing with the radio)
- Making unsafe or illegal turns
- Drinking and driving
- Driving a vehicle with broken tail lights
- Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians, bicyclists, or other vehicles, and
- Driving aggressively through an intersection to beat a yellow light.
A driver who engages in any of these behaviors behind the wheel can be considered negligent. Anyone who is negligent and contributes to an accident will be at fault.
How is Fault Proved After a San Diego Car Accident?
Sometimes the reason an accident happens is quite obvious. Other times, it can take a while to fully understand what caused an accident and who is to blame. Fortunately, there are many ways to prove fault after a San Diego car accident.
Eye-Witness Statements and Testimony
Parties involved in an accident often have different recollections about what happened. Unbiased third-party witnesses often play a critical role in establishing fault. Witnesses are individuals who aren’t involved in an accident but happen to be bystanders at the time it occurs. They see the accident happen and can offer insight about what caused it and who they believe is to blame.
Witnesses can also be helpful even if they don’t see an entire car accident unfold. Many times, witnesses only see a fraction of what really happens. However, any details that are relevant to the accident that they can provide can be critical in determining fault. Many times, witnesses see things that parties directly involved in accidents miss. Witnesses can provide opinions and testimony regarding:
- Driver attitude and appearance immediately following a crash
- Direction of travel, and
- Sounds and smells that may offer insight into the cause of the accident.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that witness testimony isn’t always accurate or correct. The likelihood of a witness forgetting or misremembering details increases the longer you wait to interview them. Witness statements will be most reliable when they’re taken as soon as possible after your accident.
Always call the police and report an accident as soon as you can. An officer will be dispatched to the scene of the accident to conduct a preliminary investigation and generate a police report. While police reports generally aren’t admissible as evidence in court, they can provide a wealth of information about your accident. Details that are typically included in a police report include:
- The names of all parties involved
- Time, date, and location
- Witness information
- Descriptions of injuries and property damage
- Diagrams and/or sketches of the accident, and
- Road and traffic conditions.
Many officers even include a preliminary assessment of fault, based on their initial investigation of the accident. Your attorney can use this information to (a) determine the cause(s) of your accident and (b) identify who may be at fault.
Fault is often contested after a San Diego car accident. Insurance companies won’t want to pay you the money you deserve. They’ll do anything they can to find a way to limit their liability. Most insurance companies will launch a private investigation into your accident. They’ll leave no stone unturned as they search for ways to prove that their insured driver isn’t to blame. In fact, they’ll also search for evidence to suggest that you’re to blame for the accident.
Insurance companies aren’t the only ones who can investigate an accident privately. Your attorney should also perform a thorough investigation of your accident. At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, we work with some of the best accident experts in San Diego, including accident recreationists, engineers, and medical professionals. These professionals help us to understand why an accident happened and who is at fault. Our arguments on your behalf are much stronger thanks to their respected insight and input.
What If I Share Fault For My San Diego Accident?
Do you share some of the blame for your San Diego traffic accident? If so, don’t panic. In California, more than one person can share fault for an accident. In these situations, fault is allocated between everyone who contributes to an accident. The more responsible you are for causing an accident, the more liability you share.
Example: You are rear-ended at a San Diego intersection. An investigation reveals that you were texting and didn’t see that the light had turned from red to green. The driver who rear-ended you is allocated 80 percent of the blame, and you share the remaining 20 percent.
Under the rule of comparative fault, you are entitled to compensation as long as you are not entirely to blame for an accident. However, your damages will be reduced by the degree to which you are responsible for the crash. In the example above, you’d only be able to recover 80 percent of your accident-related damages. At the same time, you’d be liable for 20 percent of the other driver’s damages.
Call Injury Trial Lawyers for Help Establishing Fault After Your San Diego Accident
Have you been involved in a San Diego car, truck, or motorcycle accident? You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, fault for the accident will have to be established before you can get the money you deserve. Others involved in the accident will try to shift as much of the blame to you as possible. If they’re successful, your ability to recover compensation could be compromised.
Protect yourself and your financial recovery by contacting Injury Trial Lawyers, APC after your accident. For more than 15 years, our San Diego personal injury lawyers have successfully recovered millions in compensation for our injured clients. We know how to investigate your case, prove fault, and get you the money you need. Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.