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What Happens When You are At Fault For A Car Accident In California?

by Louise W. Rice

Car accidents are the cause of thousands of accidents and deaths each year in the United States. If you are involved in a car accident, you may suffer significant injuries, and your car may be damaged very noticeably. Typically, you will be able to recover damages from the other driver’s insurance company. But have you ever wondered what would happen if you were responsible for the accident?

At the end of the day, you are human, and as such, you are prone to making mistakes behind the wheel. If you were at fault in a California car accident, you might be feeling stressed, frustrated, and even scared about the possible consequences this could have on your life.

Here is some helpful information to evaluate your options later if you were at fault in a California car crash.

What to do right after the accident?

Right after the crash, if you believe you were at fault for the accident, here are some of the things you should do:

1. Check for injuries and damages

The health and safety of everyone involved in the accident is the most important thing. Check for injuries, and check the occupants of the other vehicles involved. It would help if you also looked at the damage sustained by your car and the other cars.

2. Call 911

Make sure to call the authorities as soon as possible. Call 911 and let them know the people involved in the accident to send the necessary ambulances. Moreover, police reports are often helpful evidence for your car accident attorney.

3. Don’t leave the scene

You may have to move your car slightly if the accident occurred in a dangerous part of the road, that is acceptable. However, you should always stay at the scene of the accident until the local authorities arrive. If you suspect you were at fault for the accident and flee the scene, you could make matters worse by turning the issue into a hit-and-run accident. Also, if you suspect that the accident is DUI/DWI related, contact DUI defense lawyers so you can have them talk on your behalf and to avoid making suspicious statements unconsciously.

4. Stay calmed

Auto accidents can be terrible and traumatic experiences, especially if you are liable for them. You may feel agitated, stressed, and frustrated. However, you should try to remain as calm as possible and not get too upset.

5. Gather evidence

It is a good idea to collect evidence of what happened right after the crash. Try to take photos of your injuries and the damage sustained by all vehicles. Also, try to record other details that may be useful later, such as witness contacts, license plate numbers, weather conditions at the time of the accident, etc.

6. AVOID admitting fault

Even if you are sure that the accident was entirely your fault, under no circumstances admit fault immediately after the collision. Please limit yourself to reporting the events as they happened, without saying at any time that you are at fault. Subsequently, the police, insurance companies, and auto accident attorneys on both sides will come to their conclusions after their investigations.

7. Call your insurer

You should notify your insurer about the accident as soon as possible. Tell them your side of the story; then, they will investigate the incident on their own. Do not provide information about your medical condition until a doctor assesses your injuries.

8. Talk to an attorney

You may think that California car accident lawyers only focus on helping victims get compensation after their injuries. But even if you feel you were at fault for the crash, an experienced attorney, such as C&B Law Group, can help you determine if you were actually at fault and not pay too much compensation to the other driver.

Damages that may qualify for compensation

Having insurance after a car accident in Los Angeles can be very helpful. Typically, your insurer will be able to cover the damages related to the accident. However, if your policy isn’t high enough, it may not be able to cover all of the costs. In these cases, the other driver may sue you for more compensation. Working with a California car crash attorney is especially crucial in these instances.

The damages that the other driver may be able to obtain after the accident are the following:

  •   Current and future medical expenses.
  •   Lost wages and income due to the accident.
  •   Loss of earning capacity.
  •   Damage to their property, particularly their vehicle.
  •   Pain and suffering.

What about your injuries?

Just because you were at fault for the accident doesn’t mean that you are exempt from suffering injuries and property damage. On the contrary, chances are that you may sustain severe injuries, and your car may be significantly damaged after an accident. At this point, your insurance company will take care of helping you pay for your medical expenses and your vehicle’s damage. However, the amount of money you would receive will depend on your insurance policy. 

What if you’re partly responsible?

You may not have been entirely responsible for the accident, and your actions may have only partially caused the crash. In these cases, the courts and insurance companies determine liability for the accident based on a percentage scale.

In other words, depending on your actions, you will be assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. If you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, you won’t receive any compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. On the contrary, your insurance company (or you, for that matter) will be responsible for paying for the damages.

The percentage of fault will be determined based on the available evidence of the accident, such as the police report, witness testimonies, any visual evidence of the accident, such as photos you have taken of the accident.

How can an attorney help you?

A local car accident attorney can help you protect your rights and guide you every step of the way. If the insurance company is not aggressively defending your case, you may have to pay money out of pocket if the other driver decides to sue you for more compensation. An attorney will help you deal with this situation properly and prevent you from having to pay excessively high compensation.

Most Los Angeles, California car crash lawyers offer completely free consultations. Do not hesitate to contact them for expert advice on your case.

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