Some states are considered no-fault instance states.  Each driver must carry PIP or no-fault insurance that pays medical bills and some lost wages in the event of a traffic accident, regardless of which driver was at fault. For example, if you were injured in a car accident with another driver, your PIP insurance would pay your medical bills even if the other driver caused the crash. You would only file a claim against the other driver in limited circumstances.

California is a “fault” insurance state. Every driver is required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. If the driver causes a crash, the victims can file claims against the driver’s insurance coverage. However, the victim must prove “fault” to recover compensation.

What is Fault in a Car Accident?

Fault is the responsibility for causing the collision either by an act or an omission. When we are investigating an accident, we look to see if the driver was careless, reckless, or negligent in some manner that led to the crash. For example, the driver ran a red light, rear-ended a vehicle, crossed the center line, or drove the wrong way. The at-fault driver’s negligence or recklessness typically is a factor in the cause of the crash. Examples of negligence and recklessness that can lead to an accident include:

  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Drowsing or fatigued driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Texting while driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Drugged driving

When a driver is negligent in causing a collision, we say that driver is “at fault.” To recover compensation in an at-fault state, you must prove the other driver caused the crash. If you cannot prove the driver caused the crash, you cannot recover any money from that driver’s insurance company.

Comparative Fault

In addition to proving the other driver was at fault for the crash, you want to prove that you had no fault in the cause of the collision. California is a pure comparative fault state. Under the comparative negligence standard, the fault of each driver can be weighed when determining compensation. In other words, if you were partially responsible for the collision, your compensation can be reduced.

Let’s assume that a driver turned in front of you at a red light and caused a crash. In many cases, that driver would be 100 percent responsible for the crash, and you would be entitled to full compensation.  However, if you were speeding at the time of a crash, a jury might decide you were 20 percent responsible for the cause of the crash.

Under comparative fault, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault. In our example, if your damages total $100,000, the most you can receive would be $80,000 (the total damages less 20 percent).  Therefore, proving fault in a car accident case is extremely important for your recovery.

Call a Fresno and Central California Valley Car Accident Attorney

Our attorneys understand how to fight allegations of comparative negligence. It is our goal to help you recover the maximum compensation allowable for your claim. Contact Torem & Associates by telephone at 1-800-954-4444 or online by using the contact form on our website for a free consultation.