It is almost impossible to say for sure who was responsible for a car accident. Usually, both parties are somewhat at fault. Even if someone hits you from behind, they may be able to show that you did something wrong. For example, you may have had a brake light out. Or maybe you slammed on your brakes out of nowhere. Even though the rear driver is almost always at fault in a rear-end car accident, there are times when the front driver partially at fault. In cases like this, you should call and talk to an experienced LA car wreck lawyer.
When both parties are at fault, it can make the case a lot harder to resolve. Your attorney will claim that the other driver was 100% at fault. The defendant’s lawyer will argue that you were 50% at fault. This gives you a few options. You can either go to court and let the judge make a determination. Or your Los Angeles car accident attorney can try to settle the case out of court. This is almost always your best option.
It’s Never Easy to Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Crash
When people get into a car wreck, they don’t have any warning. It’s not like anyone can give you a play by play on what happened. Even if there are witnesses to the crash, they can only tell you so much. That’s why it’s so important that you call the police immediately after the car accident. They’ll come out and do a thorough investigation of the accident scene. They’ll put all of their findings into a police report. Your attorney is going to need this report to prove your case.
The court will also look at other evidence to determine fault. Some of this includes:
- Statements from both of the drivers at the scene
- Eyewitness statements
- Reports from any accident reconstruction specialist
- Mechanic’s information
- Pictures of the accident scene
There’s no way to know for sure which way the judge will go. This is why it’s always a better idea to settle out of court. In fact, more than 95% of auto accident cases reach a settlement. Nobody involved wants to go to trial, as they’re expensive and time-consuming. There’s also the chance that you could lose. If that happens, you get nothing. Your Los Angeles car accident attorney will do their best to negotiate a fair settlement.
Your LA Car Wreck Lawyer Needs to Prove Negligence
In order to prove that the other driver was at fault, your Los Angeles car accident attorney will need to prove that they were negligent. To do this, they need to demonstrate the following four (4) things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- They breached this duty
- You were hurt
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach
Even if you can prove all of this, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get your full damages. That’s because the defendant’s lawyer may argue that you were partially at fault. If that’s the case, your damages may be reduced.
You Can Collect Damages in California Even If You Were at Fault
Every state has its own rules when it comes to partial fault in a car accident lawsuit. The good news is that, in California, you can still collect damages even if you partially at fault. Even if you’re more than 50% at fault, you can technically still collect. However, if you’re more than 50% at fault, there’s a good chance the defendant will sue you. California follows a contributory negligence rule. This means that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, imagine that your claim was for $100,000. The judge finds that you were 30% at fault. This means your claim will be reduced by $30,000. Instead of getting $100,000, you’ll get $70,000. But it’s better to get a partial settlement than nothing. Your Los Angeles car accident attorney understands this.
Call an Experienced LA Car Wreck Lawyer
If you’re injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to damages. The only way to know for sure is to talk to an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney. They can review your case and give you an idea of what it’s worth. Call right away and schedule your initial consultation, free of charge. The defendant will have a lawyer working for them, and you should, too.