In Los Angeles County, car accidents are far too common and often a serious matter. An almost immediate question that arises after a motor vehicle accident is…….who was at fault?
The answer to this very critical question can have a tremendous impact on the parties involved in the collision.
This also includes which party's insurance will pay for repair cost and other damages of the innocent party. Additionally, the at-fault party could be subjected to large fines and even criminal liability. In order to prove who was at fault, it typically requires determining who acted negligently. In many car accidents, it's pretty clear who was negligent.
Frequently, common sense will tell you it was the other driver, a cyclist, or a pedestrian who caused the caused the collision. There are situations where proving who was at fault is easy.
For example, proving fault in a car accident is clear-cut when one party has clearly broken California traffic laws. This includes speeding, running a stop sign, failure to yield, and other specific laws. Another example is car accidents involving rear-end collisions and left turns.
In rear-end car accidents, California law supports the driver who was in front, and applies if the at-fault driver was driving very close to your bumper, as frequently happens on busy Los Angeles County streets and highways when they become frustrated by a slow driver.
The concept is that the rear driver is responsible for remaining a safe distance between them and the front driver. In other words, they should know better than to tailgate.
On left-turn accidents, when one car is travelling straight and collides with a car making a left turn, it's assumed that the left turning driver is at fault as they entered the intersection without enough space and time to make the left turn.
These types of auto accidents can be identified by the specific damage to both cars. In some cases, the other driver will simply admit fault, which can make a personal injury case much easier.
However, in other car accident cases, determining fault can become a more complex and highly debated issue. Having an understanding of the specific California driving laws can help your case, but there a variety of ways to establish liability. This can include police reports, witness statements, photos, traffic violations, cell phone records, and “no-doubt” liability.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you should contact a Los Angeles car accident lawyer at Injury Justice Law Firm LLP. Our lawyers will need to closely review the details in order to determine your legal options.
Proving the other driver was at fault in your auto accident can be very challenging on your own, especially if your accident involves complex circumstances.
An experienced personal injury lawyer at our law firm will work aggressively on your behalf to obtain necessary evidence and present it to the other insurance company to seek a fair settlement. In accident cases where fault is an issue, let's take a closer look at ways to prove fault in your car accident case below.
After a car accident, it's important to call the police to have them write an accident report.
This report is a critical piece of evidence to show the insurance company and typically used in negotiating. A car accident report is often a detailed account by the police officer and will contain what they observed, opinion on who was at fault, and how they believe the accident happened.
In car accident cases where the police don't respond to the scene, you will need to make an accident report at your local police station. You should make sure to obtain a copy.
Witness Statements and Photos
After your car accident, it's important to remember that obtaining as much as evidence as possible can make a huge difference in determining fault.
If there were witnesses at the scene of the accident, ask them to write down a description of what they observed along with their contact information.
If able, you should take as many pictures as possible that will support your version of the car accident.
Take photos of the accident scene, traffic signs, damage on both vehicles, skid marks, property damage, any conditions that may have been a factor, and your injuries. Remember, it won't take long for critical evidence to be removed.
Location of Car Damage
Exactly where the vehicles are damaged is typically critical evidence in determining fault in a car accident. For example, if a car collides with you from behind, it's almost never your fault as the vehicle in the rear is supposed to leave sufficient room to stop.
Therefore, if you vehicle has damage to the rear, it's not difficult to determine who was at fault. However, where your vehicle is damaged is very important in proving liability in T-bone or a broadside collision.
In Los Angeles County, a common example would include a situation where one driver runs a red light and collides with the other vehicle on the side of the car.
The car with the broadside damage is not normally at fault because they were passing through the intersection with a green light while the other vehicle ran the red light, causing the accident. In these types of car accidents, the location of damage of the car that was negligent will be on the front end.
No Doubt Liability
Certain types of car accidents will almost always be one drivers fault. In these types of accidents, the insurance company will not normally argue who was responsible. In most cases, they will attempt a quick settlement.
For example, a left turn accident is almost always the fault of the driver who was making the left turn. Vehicles travelling straight into an intersection will normally have the right of way in most cases, which makes the vehicle turning left at fault for the accident.
If the vehicle going straight through the intersection is speeding, or runs a red light, this could place some or all of the liability away from the left turning vehicle. Another common example includes the previously mentioned rear-end car accident.
No doubt liability often applies where one car collides with the rear- end of another. It will simply be assumed they were following too closely and were at fault.
If you have been injured in a car accident, proving the other driver was at fault can be difficult to prove by yourself. In many car accident cases, the evidence may not always be clear.
You should consult with a Los Angeles car accident attorney at Injury Justice Law Firm LLP to review the specific details of your car accident in order to determine your legal options moving forward.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers will aggressively work on your behalf to gather important evidence in order to obtain fair compensation. Call our law office for a free case evaluation at 310-734-7974.
Related blog: Four Things to Do After a Car Accident