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Unraveling the Puzzle: Understanding Liability in Car Accident Cases

San Diego residents and motorists experience fewer road collisions, thanks to the local authorities striving to maintain superb infrastructure. Indeed, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, aka OTS crash data snapshot of the 14 largest state cities, San Diego ranks 9th in pedestrian accidents and 12th in speed-related crashes. That being said, it doesn’t dismiss that around 4100 folks still get injured or killed in traffic collisions in the city annually.

Car accidents can cause various damages, pain, and suffering. It’s recommended to hire a car accident attorney as soon as possible after a car accident to protect your property and assert your rights.

Suppose you happen to be a San Diego resident and are involved in a car accident. In that case, you must contact an experienced car accident lawyer in San Diego, CA, to help you fight for the compensation and justice you deserve.

Seasoned lawyers are unafraid to take on stubborn insurers and will even go to court if necessary. So, if you find yourself in a car accident, schedule a free consultation with a legal professional today and learn more about liability and fault acts that apply to your case and how you can pursue justice and compensation. 

Common causes of traffic accidents

From vehicle defects to speeding and drunk driving, car accidents can have many causes. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common reasons:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Disregard of traffic laws
  • Vehicle defects
  • Road rage
  • Fatigued driving
  • Weather issues
  • Poor roads, low light, or visibility issues

Types of motor vehicle accident liability

Motor vehicle accident liability refers to establishing responsibility in car crashes and making the liable party answerable. Traffic accidents can happen due to any of the above-mentioned reasons.

Liability in motor vehicle accidents includes:

Strict liability

Strict liability applies in cases involving defective vehicle parts. Under California laws, parts manufacturers have strict liability for manufacturing or design defects. That means they are responsible for the accidents that result from their defective products.

Negligence

Negligence is another common type of car accident liability. If you sue for negligence, you must be ready to prove that the defendant failed to demonstrate reasonable care and thus caused the accident that resulted in your injuries and losses. That means your lawyer must be ready to prove a breach of duty of care, damages, and causation.

Intentional torts

Motorists in other traffic collision cases, such as road rage or aggressive driving, intentionally cause harm. The plaintiff just needs to prove that they were victims of intentional infliction.

California’s comparative negligence acts

California adheres to absolute comparative negligence laws, meaning you can recover damages no matter your share of the blame for an accident. Even if there are more than one at-fault parties, the same rule applies. The jury will award compensation based on the individual party’s percentage of fault.

Parties that may be liable for a car accident case include:

  • The driver
  • Other motorists on the road
  • Careless pedestrian
  • Government
  • Motor vehicle part manufacturer
  • Vehicle company/driver’s employer
  • Bar or restaurant that knowingly got a driver intoxicated

How is liability determined in a car accident?

After a car accident, police will arrive on the scene to investigate. Meanwhile, if you are among the parties involved, collect evidence, including witness statements, scene photos, videos, motorists’ details, and vehicle plates. Record the vehicle model, color, and number plate in case of a hit-and-run.

The police will look at various factors, come up with their view of the fault, and let you know when to pick up the report. It provides a good basis for establishing liability. But it’s not determinative. Plus, it’s not even admissible in court. But it will help identify witnesses and other involved parties.

Meanwhile, the insurer will also conduct its own investigation to determine fault. They will need all accident videos, photos, and other details. Don’t answer any questions without your lawyer. In fact, don’t make any statements, as they may use them to assign you part of the blame. 

Evidence is key to convincing a judge/jury or negotiating with the insurance company in any car accident case. A good lawyer will help you build a strong case. Contact a reliable law firm to learn more about liability and fault in car accident claims, including concepts related to the state’s comparative negligence laws.

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