Car accidents can result in serious injuries, leaving victims with growing medical bills and lost wages. You may have a viable claim to recover compensation for damages from the responsible party. However, first, you must prove fault for the accident. Determining fault in a car accident can be difficult. Below, our San Jose car accident lawyer explains how to prove you are not at fault in a car accident in California and how to establish liability for the accident.
We recommend discussing your unique situation with an experienced car accident attorney. Working with an attorney can give you a better chance of securing compensation for your injuries or damages.
What Helps Me Prove I Am Not at Fault in a Car Accident?
Many pieces of evidence can help you prove you are not at fault in a car accident. Examples include:
If a police officer came to the scene, he or she created a police report. You need to request a copy of this report from the appropriate agency. A police report may have important information to support your claim. It may tell you the responding officer’s thoughts about the cause of the accident. It may also state whether the officer gave any citations for the accident, hold witness information and driver statements.
Document the Accident Scene
Documenting the accident scene is one of the most important steps to take after a car accident. After you leave the accident scene, evidence can disappear quickly. You do not want to rely on the police report for your claim because it may not be completely accurate or in your favor. Take pictures and/or videos of the following:
- Damage to your vehicle and any other vehicle(s) involved in the crash
- Positions of all vehicles involved
- License plates of each vehicle involved
- Your injuries and/or injuries to your passengers
- Light conditions, weather conditions and/or any other environmental factors that may have contributed to the accident
- Road conditions at the time of the accident (i.e traffic congestion, construction)
Talk to Witnesses
If any witnesses were on the scene, try to talk to them, get a statement and exchange contact information with them. Though this information may be part of the police report, you may need to contact witnesses later. Witnesses can provide powerful evidence for your claim.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
A good car accident lawyer knows which evidence is important for your car accident claim. Your attorney can help you preserve this evidence and build a strong case. For example, your attorney may hire independent investigators and reconstruction experts to determine the cause of the crash.
Building a strong case is more difficult if you wait. After a serious accident, insurance companies investigate the accident right away. You should have an experienced car accident attorney working on your behalf to do the same.
Understanding California Comparative Negligence Law
California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that you can recover compensation for your injuries even if you are partly or mostly at-fault for the accident. In California, you can be 99 percent at-fault for an accident and still recover compensation for damages. However, the court will reduce your award by your percentage of fault.
For example, if you recover $100,000 in damages, but are 20 percent at-fault, then you will only recover $80,000. Working with an experienced car accident lawyer can help you maximize your recovered compensation.
How to Establish Liability in a Car Accident in San Jose
In order to maximize your recovery, you and your lawyer must establish liability or fault for the accident. You must prove:
- The driver owed you a duty of care to exercise reasonable caution on the road.
- The driver breached this duty of care.
- The driver’s negligence caused the car accident.
- You suffered damages as a result.
Discuss Your Car Accident Case With a San Jose Car Accident Lawyer
If you suffered damages in a car accident, consider speaking with the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia about your situation. You can call us at (408) 752-5834 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We can help you understand your legal options and whether you have a viable car accident claim to recover compensation.