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How is fault established after a car accident in California?

If you are involved in a car accident, one of the concerns that will cross your mind is whether everyone is okay or not. Once this is settled, the next concern will probably be establishing how the accident happened and whether you are entitled to any damages. 

If the accident resulted in personal injuries as well as personal damage, it is only natural to seek financial restitution for the resulting damages. However, for this to happen, you must first identify and sue the liable party.  

Understanding California’s negligence laws

California is one of the states that follow pure comparative negligence doctrine when determining fault in a car accident claim. This statute argues that each party can only recover damages based on their degree of fault or contribution to the accident. In other words, even if you contributed to the accident, you may still recover damages. However, your damages will be reduced based on your percentage of contribution to the accident. For instance, if your contribution to the accident is set at 20 percent, and the resulting damages are established to be worth $100,000, then you will be awarded $80,000. 

So what evidence do you need to prove fault?

To receive the compensation you deserve from the other party, it is important that your claim is backed up with evidence. Here are some of the evidence that can be used to prove fault and, thus, damages following the accident:

  • Medical bills as well as car repair costs
  • Police report. California car accident reporting laws require that you can the police to the scene if the accident results in personal injury, death or property damage in excess of $1,000. 
  • Surveillance footage at the scene of the accident
  • Photos and videos of the positions of the vehicles involved in the accident, traffic signs, skid marks and other crucial evidence at the scene
  • Eyewitness accounts

A car accident can happen when you least expect it. Find out how you can protect your rights and interests while establishing fault after a car accident.