Right after a car crash, it may be challenging to figure out who caused it. You have to concentrate on getting to safety, trading information with the other driver and talking to the police. On top of all this, you may have an injury that needs urgent attention.
You might not have time to think about who is at fault or what the consequences of that may be. You should know what your options are if both you and the other driver played a part in the accident.
How fault is determined
There are numerous things that the court will consider to decide who caused your accident. They may look at:
- Police reports—the police give an objective point of view on the crash
- State traffic laws—your attorney can tell you if your accident has a specific law governing fault
- The type of accident—rear-end or left-turn collisions are almost always one driver’s fault
The end result could be that the judge finds both you and the other driver responsible for part of the accident. If this is the case, who pays for your car and your medical treatment?
You can still recover damages
Under California law, you can still receive compensation even if you partially caused your accident. The law of “comparative negligence” makes it so that everyone can seek damages equal to the amount that wasn’t their fault.
Say that the judge decided that your damages in the accident are $100,000. If the fault is 50/50 between you and the other driver, you would be able to recoup $50,000 in damages. Even if you were 99% at fault, you may seek compensation for that 1% caused by the other driver.
Figuring out who is responsible for your crash right after it happens is challenging. Unless you are completely responsible, you may still have a chance to recover some damages. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case is a good first step.