California Car Accident Law: What You Need to Know
After a crash, there are certain laws that help injured people pursue compensation from the negligent party. Unfortunately, there are also many obstacles that can arise when navigating the insurance claims system. Below, we’ll explain some of the most important things you need to know about California’s current laws regarding fault and comparative negligence, as well as some of the current issues impacting personal injury law.
If you’re in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, call our firm at (925) 275-5592 to discover your rights.
What is California’s Fault System?
Under California’s fault-based insurance system, if you suffer an injury in an accident involving negligence, you could potentially take legal action against the person responsible for causing the accident. Typically, this involves making a claim with the other driver’s automobile insurance company for compensation. In some instances, it can also involve making a claim with your own insurance when the other driver is either uninsured or underinsured to compensate you. It is critical to retain experienced attorneys before making these claims due to their complicated nature and due to the steep resistance that insurance companies often exert.
Proving fault requires many factors, but it’s important to take certain initial steps after the accident to best protect your rights to justice. These steps include exchanging insurance information, reporting the accident to the police if there were any physical injuries, obtaining witness contact information, seeking medical attention if necessary, and hiring an experienced attorney.
The information you get at the scene of the accident should all be provided to your attorney. They willl take the steps to reach out to numerous parties including witnesses, the investigating law enforcement agency, and the at-fault driver’s insurance. They’ll obtain as much information as possible to help determine fault and prove to the at-fault driver’s insurance company that they will need to compensate you for your losses.
What is Comparative Negligence?
As a plaintiff in a car accident case, you need to prove that the negligent driver was at fault to be able to recover damages, i.e., money, for your injuries. California’s comparative negligence laws impact how much you can recover in a car accident claim based on the percentage of fault, if any, you contributed to the accident.
For instance, if you show that the other driver was 70% at fault for the accident and you contributed 30% of the fault, your total reward will be reduced by that percentage. If you receive a verdict of $100,000, the 30% of your fault will reduce the verdict to $70,000—which is the total verdict minus the percentage you contributed to causing the crash.
California does not cap recovery at 50% of fault, like some other states. Even someone who is 90% at fault for the accident can recover compensation. It will just be significantly reduced.
What are Current Issues Regarding the Landscape of Personal Injury Law?
With everything that has happened with COVID-19, there have been numerous changes in the personal injury landscape. For example, here are two major things you should know about:
- Trucking regulations changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing essential truck drivers to avoid Hours of Service regulations. While these individuals are greatly appreciated for their jobs in getting goods to the people, the lack of regulations determining how long drivers can work and drive can increase the number of potentially fatigued driving accidents on the road.
- Closed courthouses during the COVID-19 pandemic lead to the possibility of an extended length for lawsuits. Trial dates that occurred during the quarantine have been, or will be, rescheduled and there likely will be a domino effect with other cases as courtrooms attempt to handle the increasing backlog.
There will certainly be more COVID-19 fallout related to injury claims. and it’s becoming increasingly important to have an attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of this situation to present your case in the most effective manner possible.
At Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook, we recognize California law and how car accident claims are handled when they involve negligence. We’re here to help you should the other driver’s insurance company try to wrongfully deny your claim for compensation that you rightfully deserve.
Our Walnut Creek car accident lawyers are ready to stand up for your rights and pursue justice on your behalf. Let us be the voices you need to hold negligence accountable.