If you’ve been involved in a car accident, is very possible that you are suffering from physical injuries as well as emotional distress. Your accident-related injuries often require you to take time off work, resulting in a loss of wages. As the bills begin to pile up, you may want to consider filing a personal injury claim against the parties responsible for your crash.
Determining fault after an accident
California is an at-fault state, meaning that you can recover damages from the parties at fault for your accident. Establishing fault often requires you to prove that the party acted negligently and therefore caused the accident and your damages. To prove negligence, you must show:
- Duty: The party owed you a duty of reasonable care.
- Breach: The party breached their duty by acting negligently/recklessly. For example, the other driver may have acted negligently by failing to stop at a stop side or driving at excessive rate of speed.
- Causation: The breach of duty actually and proximately caused the accident.
- Damages: You suffered injuries or damages because of the accident.
What if I am at fault for my own accident?
California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that you will be allowed to recover damages even if you are partially responsible for your own accident and injuries. However, your damages will be reduced depending on your percentage of fault. For example, if a jury determines you were 70% at fault for your own accident you will only recover $30,000 of the $100,000 in damages you were awarded.
Filing a suit after an accident can be challenging, especially if multiple parties are involved. A personal injury attorney specializing in these matters should be able to help you through the entire process.