What to Do After a Car Accident Not Your Fault in California?

Apr 09, 2023

Car accidents are a leading cause of accidental injuries and deaths across California each year, and every car accident victim will encounter different legal challenges as they seek accountability for the accidents that have harmed them. Fault is a crucial consideration after any vehicle accident in California, as the state upholds the fault standard for resolving auto accidents. This means that the driver who caused your recent accident is liable for the damages they caused, but you must prove fault before you can recover compensation for these losses.

An experienced car accident attorney can provide invaluable guidance after any unexpected accident in California. They can:

  • Help you prove fault for the accident.
  • Gather any evidence and documentation needed to prove the full scope of your damages.
  • Help you determine the optimal path to recovery.

Most car accidents in California will require auto insurance claims, followed by personal injury claims whenever insurance alone cannot cover the damages resulting from an accident.

How to Prove Liability for a Car Accident in California

Before you can claim compensation for the losses you sustained in an accident, you must prove how the accident happened and identify the driver or drivers responsible for causing it. A few of the most common causes of car accidents in California include distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. However your accident happened, you will likely need the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you assert liability and hold the at-fault driver accountable for your losses.

Most of the car accidents reported in California each year result from acts of negligence or failure to exercise reasonable care. It is also possible for intentional and illegal actions to cause serious accidents, in which case the state is likely to open a criminal case against the defendant. Your attorney can assist you in gathering cell phone records, traffic camera recordings, vehicle computer data, and eyewitness statements to help you prove fault. If the at-fault driver broke the law, your attorney can help you understand how a criminal case against the defendant may influence the outcome of your recovery efforts and the compensation you can obtain.

Comparative Fault

It’s important to remember that California enforces the pure comparative fault rule, so if you are found to have contributed to causing your accident, this will diminish your recovery. The judge who oversees the case will assign each liable party a percentage of the total fault for the resulting damages. If the plaintiff is assigned a fault percentage, this percentage is subtracted from the total compensation claimed from the defendant. For example, if you are found 10% at fault, you lose 10% of your potential case award, but if you are found 50% at fault, you lose half of the total compensation you could have recovered from the defendant.

FAQs About California Car Accident Laws

How Does Car Insurance Work When You Are Not at Fault for a Crash in California?

California upholds the fault rule for accidents, so the driver at fault absorbs liability for the damages they inflict on other drivers. When another driver causes an accident, you can file a claim against their auto insurance. If they do not have insurance, but you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage with your policy, you can file a claim against your own insurance for initial compensation.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was Not My Fault?

It’s not strictly required to hire legal counsel after a car accident in California, but doing so dramatically improves your chances of recovering as fully as possible. Your attorney can assist you with the insurance claim filing process and, if necessary, build a personal injury claim on your behalf. You are more likely to succeed in these recovery efforts with legal counsel you can trust advising you.

How Much Compensation Can I Recover for a Car Accident in California?

You have the right to seek full repayment for all the damages you sustained in your recent accident. If you suffered injuries, you could hold the defendant accountable for all of the medical care you need to fully recover as well as the income you were unable to earn while you recovered from your injuries. You can also hold them accountable for vehicle repair costs and the pain and suffering they caused. An experienced attorney can help their client accurately calculate the full range of damages they can seek from the at-fault driver.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim for a Car Accident?

If you cannot fully recover your losses through insurance, and need to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, you must do so within two years of the accident or lose your ability to claim compensation from the defendant. While this may seem like a generous statute of limitations, the reality is that you have the greatest chance of success when you start the claim process as soon as possible after your accident.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Attorney in California?

If you choose the Law Offices of David Davidi, APLC, to represent your car accident claim, we only take a fee if we win your case. Additionally, the fee we take is a percentage of your final case award, and you keep the rest. There is no fee if we lose for any reason, so there is no risk in choosing our firm as your legal representatives. Our goal is to help you recover as fully and quickly as possible.

Contact the Law Offices of David Davidi, APLC

The Law Offices of David Davidi, APLC, has helped many California clients recover from all types of motor vehicle accidents, and we are ready to leverage our experience on your behalf. The aftermath of any vehicle accident can be confusing and stressful, but our team has the skills and resources necessary to guide you to a favorable conclusion to your recovery efforts. Contact us today to learn how we can help you after a car accident that was not your fault.