Determining Liability in a Car Accident
To be compensated for your damages in an accident, you must prove that the other driver was at fault. In California, drivers can get reparations for an amount that equals whatever the other driver was responsible for in the accident. For example, if the other driver was determined to be 50% at fault, then you can recover up to 50% of your damages. Those who have been in a car accident should speak to a Long Beach personal injury lawyer from the Overett Group. We may be able to help you prove that the other driver was liable for your damages.
How does the insurance company decide who is at-fault?
Though police officers may make official reports at the scene of the car accident, they do not determine liability. It is actually the insurance companies that determine who was at-fault. To investigate who should pay for the damages, they will be looking at the driver’s “duty of care.” This is the responsibility of every driver to follow the rules of the road and to avoid being negligent. In other words, it is “lookout, avoidance, and following the rules of the road.”
Lookout refers to a driver paying attention for any possible danger. Drivers should not become distracted with things like conversation, cellular devices, or eating, but should be focused on the task of driving. Avoidance means that a driver should try and make every attempt to evade an impending accident. A driver that is prepared may be able to reduce the impact or avoid the accident altogether. Lastly, the driver has a responsibility to follow the rules of the road that are put forth by the government.
A driver should know road laws, as well as keep in step with following all traffic signs, such as speed limits, stop signs, and others. Drivers who fails to do so may be held accountable for the accident.
The insurance companies will take police reports, witness’ statements, and your personal testimony into consideration when trying to determine who was at fault for the accident. They will try to discover if anyone has breached the duties of a driver and to what extent they did so.
The insurance adjuster that is investigating your claim must show causation, which is the connection between the damages that were incurred and the duty that was not met. They might see if there were any circumstances that could have added to the accident such as bad weather, or any illegal action on the part of the other driver. The last thing that an insurance company will determine is the amount of damages that is owed, whether it is property damages or bodily injury. These must be related to the car accident in order to receive compensation.
What should I do next?
Insurance companies might wrongly determine that you were at-fault, or they might fail to give you all the compensation you deserve. In this case, it is vital that you talk to a Long Beach car accident lawyer at our firm. You should make sure to talk to our team before you give any sort of statement to anyone but the police at the scene. We can help you draft a statement so that the insurance company does not use any of your words against you.
Trust us to handle everything regarding your car accident case, because we have an impressive success rate in our decade of practice. We are committed to making sure that this is a smooth process for you, so that you can focus on dealing with any emotional and physical pain you may be experiencing. Contact us for your free consultation before it’s too late!