Written by: Portrait Photo Of Tyrone J. Maho Tyrone J. Maho

When you’re in a car accident, the seconds feel like years. Life goes from normal to shattered in an instant. On top of that, your car may have extensive damage, and you may be injured too.

While dealing with this, you’ll also need to know how to prove you’re not at fault in a car accident. In California, that can be tricky. That’s why you need Maho | Prentice, LLP, with 67 years of combined legal experience in personal injury litigation, we stand up for you against the insurance companies that will try to get out of compensation.

You can contact us for a free consultation today regarding your car accident case.

Two Car Crash

What Is Fault in a Car Accident?

The term ‘fault’ refers to the person or persons that caused the car crash. Sometimes, it is easier to show fault than in other instances. For example, if you failed to stop when another driver in front of you braked, you would be at fault.

How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident in California

In California, you must be insured with minimal-fault auto insurance. Once those policy limits are reached, the insurance will stop covering that particular claim. The downside of California car insurance is that there are no limits that cover serious injuries. If you are hit by a driver that isn’t insured, you won’t receive compensation. This is why unprotected and underinsured motorist protection can be helpful in this state. 

Every state across the country falls into either at-fault or no-fault categories. California is an at-fault state. When a claim for a car accident is filed, the insurance companies examine the facts to decide who was to blame for the wreck. In some cases, fault can be assigned to both parties.

With this system in place, drivers in California found liable for an accident are responsible for paying the costs sustained by the other party when they’re found to be the negligent one.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are what the negligent driver will need to pay. These include economic damages and non-economic damages, also known as general damages. Economic damages include medical expenses, loss of income, and personal property damage, while non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

If you suffered injuries in a car accident but aren’t at fault, you can claim compensation from the at-fault driver. But first, you must prove liability. As California is a pure comparative negligence state, the victim in a car accident may also share a portion of the liability if they were found to be partially to blame. Under California’s pure comparative negligence system, as the injured victim, you may share varying degrees of responsibility, which can impact how much you receive in a car accident claim.

Determining Fault

The insurance companies determine fault in California. They review statements made by the police, the doctors, and those involved in the accident to decide. The police significantly contribute to this factor if they deem anyone guilty of breaking traffic laws resulting from the accident.

As a victim, file a car accident claim if your insurance payout was insufficient. At that point, a judge will make the final decision.

Picture Of A Woman After Car Crash

What Do You Need to Prove to Gain Compensation After Auto Accidents?

When you make a car accident claim, you need to show proof that the other driver was the one to be at fault. You have the full burden of proving fault for the crash. Once you demonstrate proof, you can proceed. However, an experienced personal injury attorney is an asset to you.

Let the personal injury lawyers at Maho | Prentice, LLP assist you and stand up to the other driver’s insurance company.

After proving the other driver is liable, you can then recover those damages, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damage. You must be able to show these things with evidence to back up your claim.

Why an Insurance Company Needs Proof of Negligence

Every insurance company will do what they can to find a way out of paying after a car wreck. When an insurance company denies your claims, you will be left in the lurch. Hence, the need for proof of negligence of the rear driver who collided with your vehicle or any other auto incident.

You must show that the defendant is liable as they didn’t practice proper care while behind the wheel. Every car accident case revolves around negligence. Negligence occurs when someone fails to act with a reasonable degree of care. In this situation, it neglects traffic laws such as failing to stop at a red light, distracted driving, or driving while under the influence. Even defective auto parts could be to blame rather than the parties involved.

Steps You Can Take to Help Prove You’re Not the At-Fault Party in a Car Accident

To prove fault to make your insurance claim on that traffic accident caused by the other driver, you must gather as much evidence as you can. The more you present in your case, the more likely you’re to prove you weren’t the one at fault.

The following steps will help you show that proof to make your case.

Two People In A Car Accident

Document Everything at the Accident Scene

Things can get confusing after car accidents, you need to document the accident scene. This evidence can prove the other driver was at fault in a rear-end collision, left turn accident, or car wreck and can increase your chances of being compensated for your losses.

Photos and videos are a great way to capture the evidence in the aftermath. Take photos of the entire area, including your vehicle damage, skid marks, the speed limit sign, and other motor vehicles involved.

Collect Physical Evidence

In addition to vehicle damage, if there is vehicle debris, you should try to collect this as evidence. Things like broken glass or car parts could work to show you’re not at fault.

Exchange Contact Information

You’ll need to exchange information with the other driver. The at-fault driver’s insurer information is necessary when filing a claim. Sometimes, the other driver may not cooperate; however, the police report that must be filed must contain that information. You can ask the police officer on the scene or request a police report.

Gather Witness Information

Anyone that was there when the accident happened could also help prove your case. They’ll have seen things as the accident occurred and can give a statement.

Eyewitnesses are instrumental in proving the traffic violations from the at-fault driver were the cause of the crash. You don’t have to force them to make a statement, though you should get their information. Your personal injury lawyer can take it from there and get the statements needed when forming your case.

Get the Police Report

In car accident cases, proving fault is easier with the police report. Police reports can support your personal injury case by showing the other driver’s fault.

The responding police officer will create a police report that details what happened. It will note traffic violations such as speeding, failing to stop at a red light, or making a left turn into oncoming traffic.

Police officers will include the type of car accident, such as rear-end collisions, left-turn accidents, or head-on collisions.

Access Traffic Camera Footage

On most major roadways, there are traffic cameras that can assist you with proving fault. Cameras see all, and they can show that you weren’t at fault for the car accident.

Your personal injury lawyer can obtain this information for you though you’ll also want to do your part by documenting every detail on the scene.

Check Black Box Data

Today’s vehicles contain a black box, much like airplanes. These electronic devices record crucial details such as your speed, the force of impact, and show that you applied your brakes at the right time. Again, your car accident attorney can help you present this data to the courts for your injury claim.

Share Your Medical Records

You may think you’re fine after a car accident and try to shake it off. However, you must get checked by a medical professional following the accident. Many injuries aren’t always apparent with a gaping wound or gushing blood. Often, those internal injuries and head trauma cause slower symptoms.

If you don’t seek medical treatment, you can be denied compensation from the at-fault driver. Your medical records will show the severity of your condition and have pertinent details about the treatments needed for recovery. This way, you won’t lose out on receiving compensation for your mounting medical bills.

Don’t Admit Fault

In society, we often apologize even when we’re not doing something wrong, such as bumping into someone on the sidewalk who was busy looking at their phone. After a car accident, though, you don’t want to say sorry.

Let the facts and evidence show the liability. If you apologize for the accident, the at-fault driver can use it against you. Don’t say anything without consulting your attorney. At Maho | Prentice, LLP, we’ll lead your case with the highest level of integrity.

Woman Calls 911 After Car Crash

Prove Fault in an Accident for Your Claims

Victims of car accidents have already been through enough. You don’t need to go broke waiting for your insurance claim to be processed. Those bills keep piling up, and settling for less than you deserve would do nothing to resolve your problems.

Remember that if you’re not at fault in an accident, you can make claims against the other driver. In doing so, you can recover those medical expenses for current and future treatments, lost income, and pain and suffering, to name a few. With California’s stance on comparative negligence, all the evidence you gather can be of great use in your recovery of damages from the accident.

Work with a Law Firm That Cares About Making Things Right

If you’ve been in a car accident, you need representation from attorneys that have experience in these cases. At Maho | Prentice, LLP, we can help you gather the evidence you need.

We’ll work to get you the compensation you deserve, even if the other driver tries to make an insurance claim against you. We advise you never to admit fault, so we can help you recover the damages that resulted from the accident. Our firm will stand firm in proving your case for the accident.

Contact Our Car Accident Attorney Team

Evidence determines fault, and our mission is to pursue the claims that were the other party’s fault. If your personal injury protection insurance coverage isn’t enough to help pay for those astronomical medical expenses or make up for your lost wages from your injury, you need Maho | Prentice, LLP to ensure those economic and non-economic damages are recovered.

To help you move forward with your life, we provide a free initial consultation to show you how we can help you make your case and recover what you deserve.

The aftermath of a car crash is just as messy as the accident itself. Don’t try to navigate it alone and fight the insurance companies yourself. Maho | Prentice, LLP will bring our 67 years of combined experience to back you every step of the way. If you’ve been in a car accident, don’t let time tick while your expenses pile up. Contact us for that free consultation today!

By Maho | Prentice, LLP Attorneys at Law on December 5, 2022