If you’ve been in an auto accident in California in which you were injured due to the negligence or fault of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. However, you must first establish fault and determine who is legally responsible for the accident. In order to do this and to receive fair compensation, it is important to work with a California auto accident attorney, such as those at The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers. Beyond this, it helps to understand the importance of police reports, the California Vehicle Code, rear end and left turn accident liability, and evidence obtained at the scene of the accident.
Importance of Police Reports
When it comes to proving fault after a California auto accident, a police report can make all the difference. Having said that, the police won’t always respond to auto accidents if they are not serious. Rather, they may advise you to exchange information if there is minimal damage and pursue the claim on your own without a police report.
For more severe collisions, you should wait for the police to arrive before leaving the scene of the accident, unless you need emergency medical care. If the police do respond to the accident, they will create a collision report that will cover several aspects of the accident, including the position of the vehicles and any debris or skid marks on the road, any damage, the conditions of the road and the weather, and various other details of the accident. They may also issue a citation to anyone who is determined to have been acting in an unlawful manner.
Keep in mind that the accuracy of the police report can also be challenged if there is reason to believe a mistake was made.
Role of the California Vehicle Code
The California Vehicle Code can give you more leverage when attempting to establish who was at fault for the auto accident that caused your injuries. It is helpful because it allows you to argue that the other driver broke the state law, that this contributed to the accident, and that the other driver is clearly negligent because of this.
Rear End and Left Turn Accidents
It is typically very easy to prove fault in rear end accidents and left turn accidents. This is because it is usually the fault of the rear driver when a rear end collision occurs, just as it is usually the fault of the driver turning left when a left turn accident occurs.
In rear end collisions, it is generally assumed that if the rear driver had behaved appropriately, he or she would have been able to stop their vehicle in time to avoid hitting the front driver.
In left turn accidents, it is generally assumed that the driver making the left turn failed to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic, causing the accident.
There are rare occasions where these general rules are not accurate, however. For example, if someone makes a dangerous lane change in front of you and then hits the brakes, causing a rear end collision, then it may not be your fault. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to prove. When it comes to left turn accidents, liability can shift if the driver going straight ran a red light or was speeding, ultimately causing the accident.
Another important factor when establishing liability in an auto accident will be the evidence that you obtain at the scene of the accident. This can include evidence of the condition of the roads, the weather conditions, any debris from the vehicles, the position of the vehicles, and anything else that you can prove through evidence. The best evidence will be photos and videos taken after the accident. You should take care to photograph any skid marks, vehicle damage, and anything else that might help to establish liability.
How an Attorney Can Help
An attorney can make all the difference in establishing fault and proving the value of your damages. This is especially true in cases where fault is not as easily proven, such as a situation where you were the rear driver in a rear end collision, but are certain that you were not at fault for the accident. The attorneys at The Sargent Firm are prepared to assist you with every step of the auto accident claims process, including establishing fault, communicating with insurance companies, and settling your claim.