What Does Comparative Negligence Mean for My Car Accident in San Diego?
Accidents happen to everyone at one time or another. Luckily, many accidents are minor and do not result in significant injuries or property damage. Sometimes, however, a car accident in San Diego could be serious, and drivers and passengers could be severely hurt or killed. In these situations, the victim may need to take legal action against another driver. Some drivers wonder what happens when he was partly to blame for what occurred. In some states, only those who were not at fault could receive compensation for their damages. California is a state that allows the fault to be shared by more than one party. This is called comparative negligence.
Understanding Comparative Negligence
Drivers in the state are bound to a duty to drive in a safe, responsible manner. Negligence occurs when someone does something or fails to do something, which breaches this duty. Accidents can be complex, and there could be more than one action, or lack of action, that contribute to them. California uses a legal principle called comparative negligence when it comes to car accident cases that involve personal injuries or property damage. What this means is that fault may be placed on multiple drivers in a crash.
Even those who are partly to blame for car accidents in San Diego are able to seek compensation for damages. A portion of fault will be ascribed to each party in the crash. Many people mistakenly think that because they did something that contributed to the crash they won’t be able to collect any money. That isn’t true. Those who suffered damages can be compensated for at least a portion of their medical bills and other expenses.
How Fault is Determined in a Car Accident
It is important to realize that you are not the one that determines as to who was at fault in an accident. There are a number of factors that need to be reviewed. The police will investigate car accidents in San Diego and interview the drivers, passengers, and any witnesses. If there is a surveillance video that shows the incident, it will need to be reviewed.
It is essential that you do not make any statements at the scene that could be construed as a statement of guilt. While you may be sorry that the car accident happened, don’t apologize. When providing a statement to police tell them the details of what occurred without drawing any of your own conclusions. If you aren’t sure what happened, don’t speculate.
The police report, witness statements, and other information will be used to determine which driver was at fault for the car accident. If multiple factors caused the crash, these would be reviewed. A portion of the contribution to the accident will be assigned to each driver. All those who were injured or suffered damages are allowed to request compensation. For example, if a driver is found to be 10% at fault for the crash, his portion of damages would be reduced by that percentage. If in this example the driver suffered $10,000 in actual medical bills, he might collect 9,000 because his portion has been deducted.
There are some essential elements that must be present in order to establish negligence. A person will only be responsible for damages that he could have reasonably known could come about because of his actions. For example, if a driver is speeding he knows that going too fast could result in a car accident with injuries. Negligence may also be a failure to take actions that should be taken. For instance, if a driver fails to stop at a red light, his lack of action could be considered negligent. Additionally, damages must have occurred because of the negligent actions. Even if a person is negligent nothing further can occur if their negligence did not cause any damages. Damages typically include physical injuries and property damage. Finally, the injuries and damages must have been a result of the person’s negligence.
Those involved in car accidents in San Diego or elsewhere should seek medical attention immediately following the crash. This applies to everyone, even those who don’t feel they were hurt. Some injuries can take hours or longer to appear. It is also possible that the immediately following the crash you may not notice some of the pain or injuries until the shock of the accident goes away.
For these reasons, it is essential that you and your passengers get medical treatment. If you fail to go to the hospital immediately after the accident, it might become harder to prove that the injuries were a result of the crash. Be sure to let the doctor know that your injuries occurred in a vehicle accident and keep copies of all medical expenses associated with your injuries from the accident. Take photos of your injuries, which will also be useful in proving that you were hurt.
Need Help After Your San Diego Car Accident?
Life can be difficult after a traumatic incident and injuries that occurred in a vehicle crash. While it’s necessary to take care of your immediate medical needs as well as those of passengers, it is also essential to speak with a qualified San Diego, personal injury attorney. The law regarding these matters can be complex and the sooner you get the assistance of a lawyer the better.
You may be contacted by the insurance company and asked to speak about the accident. It is generally advisable not to make a statement to the insurance representative until you first consult with your attorney. The company often wants to settle the case as quickly as possible and may offer you a check. Cashing the check may preclude you from taking any further action, even if the check doesn’t fully cover your needs. It’s likely that you could be owed more money than they are initially willing to provide.
Meet with a San Diego Car Accident Attorney for a Consultation
Your attorney will review the details of the case and gather information and documentation necessary to move forward in obtaining the compensation you deserve. Get help for car accidents in San Diego from our experienced legal team at 1-800-HURT-NOW. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation to discuss your accident.