In California, proving fault in a car accident is crucial when it comes to receiving compensation, as the state follows the pure comparative negligence system. This means the percentage of fault influences the awarded compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Even if you are partially liable for the accident, you can still receive compensation, but your percentage of fault will influence it. This is why contacting a Stockton, California, car accident lawyer is crucial when proving fault.
A lawyer will help you collect the necessary evidence to build up your case and can even work with other professionals to reconstruct the accident scene and prove fault. But what evidence is needed to prove fault in car accidents? Here is what you should know.
Proving Fault Through Evidence in Car Accidents
Once you are involved in a car accident, you should gather evidence that can prove the fault of the other party. While you are waiting for authorities to arrive at the accident scene, you should analyze your surroundings.
Are there any surveillance cameras that might have captured the incident? If so, you should write down the names of the buildings with those cameras. Do you have visible injuries? Take photos of them and the accident scene with your phone.
While recording or taking pictures, you should focus on the traffic signs, the damages incurred by all vehicles, including yours, road conditions, property damage to all the surrounding area, skid marks or debris, and everything that has something to do with or was affected by your car accident.
If you are able to move freely, you can also take a picture of the final positions of all vehicles after the collision. Lastly, write down the contact information of all eyewitnesses that might have seen the incident.
When taking photos of the accident scene, ensure you do so from multiple angles and that your photos are focused and not blurry. Act calmly and give the authorities the information they need, but whatever you do, do not admit guilt or act apologetically. It can backfire on you.
The Insurance Company Adjuster
At some point after your car accident, an insurance adjuster will be dispatched to assess your claim and analyze the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles, injuries, and police reports.
The insurance adjuster will most likely give an opinion of who is to blame for the accident; however, their word is not final. More often than not, insurance adjusters seek to give reduced compensation to car accident victims because they ultimately serve a for-profit business.
You should contact car accident attorneys to prepare your personal injury claim. A lawyer will work with the evidence that you give them, but they will also perform an investigation of their own.
They will also analyze police and medical reports, talk to eyewitnesses and prepare them for trial if needed, or procure the CCTV footage if it exists. Personal injury lawyers will also work closely with other professionals to reconstruct the accident scene and prove fault or negligence.
Based on the circumstances of your case, the evidence, and the skills of your lawyer, you will have a low percentage of fault or none at all. If your lawyer builds you a strong enough case to negotiate successfully with the other parties involved, you won’t even have to go to trial. In fact, most car accident settlements do not reach the trial proceedings.