Skip to Content

Blogs from November, 2018


In California, the general rule is that you can be held legally responsible for money damages if you were at fault in a car accident. If you were in a car accident and you think you might have been at fault, then contact your car insurance company right away. Car insurance is helpful for two reasons:

  1. Your car insurance company has to pay for the accidental damages you caused up to the limits of your insurance policy. If the damages are more than the limits of your insurance policy, your car insurance company must make a good faith effort to settle the case against you within policy limits. However, your car insurance company only has to protect you if you cooperate with them. Cooperation means reporting the claim to them right away, answering their questions, and being 100% truthful.
  2. If your car insurance company does not settle your case, then your car insurance company has to defend you in court. That means your car insurance company will hire a lawyer for you and pay the full amount of your legal fees, including attorney fees, expert witness expenses, court costs, etc. – regardless of what your policy limits are. Still, you must cooperate by answering their questions, showing up to deposition and court, and being 100% truthful.

If you were injured, then contact a personal injury lawyer as well to determine whether or not you are eligible for compensation.

Who is “at fault”?

The technical term for being “at fault” in a car accident is called being “negligent.” In these cases, the definition of negligence is as follows:

A person must use reasonable care in driving a vehicle. Drivers must keep a lookout for pedestrians, obstacles, and other vehicles. They must also control the speed and movement of their vehicles. The failure to use reasonable care in driving a vehicle is negligence.

Most of the time, if you are negligent then you probably violated one or more driving laws. However, you can be “at fault” or “negligent” regardless of whether or not a police officer writes you a ticket. For example, texting and driving was negligent driving before there was a law against it. It took some time for the rule against texting and driving to become California law (Vehicle Code § 23123.5).

Even when there is a violation of law, many police officers don’t take the time to write a ticket even when they know there’s negligence – not because they are lazy, but because they know the insurance companies and lawyers will do their own investigations into who was “at fault” or “negligent.”

Can multiple people be negligent in the same accident?

California is a comparative negligence state, which means that you may still be eligible for compensation even if you were partially at fault. Many car accidents occur because of negligence on both sides. When multiple people are at fault, the level of negligence is compared against one another. If you were injured, contact a personal injury lawyer as well as your car insurance company. Even if you were partially at fault, you may still be eligible for compensation if the other party was partially at fault too. Your compensation will always be reduced by your own level of comparative negligence, but sometimes recovering a percentage of your damages is still worth pursuing.

Share To:

Most Recent Posts from November, 2018