How to Prove the Other Driver Was at Fault in a Car Accident

car accident

Unfortunately, car accidents are a common occurrence. In 2020, there were over 54,000 vehicle accidents in the United States. And if being in a car accident isn’t traumatic enough, determining who was at fault for the accident can add an extra layer of stress and uncertainty.

In some cases, the fault is apparent. For example, in a rear-end collision, the rear driver is typically always at fault. However, sometimes it’s not that easy to prove who was at fault. If you weren’t at fault, proving that is in your best interest.

Many factors can be used to determine the fault when it isn’t apparent. This article will discuss how California determines fault in an accident and six ways to prove that you were not at fault in a car accident.

Proving Fault in California

In California, who was at fault in a car accident can be proven in two ways. One is to show the other driver was negligent under common law, and the other is to prove statutory negligence, meaning that the other driver violated the California Vehicle Code or another law.

Common-Law Negligence

To establish that the other driver was negligent under the rules of common law, you must prove:

  • Duty of Care — Every driver is responsible for operating their vehicle with reasonable care. All drivers must obey traffic law, drive safe and responsibly, avoid injuring others, and be mindful of road conditions.
  • Breach of Duty — Did the other driver act as a reasonable person would act in the situation they were in? If the answer is no, you can prove breach of duty.
  • Causation — The cause of the accident was because of the other driver’s breach of duty.
  • Damage — The accident caused a monetary loss or physical or mental injury.

Statutory Negligence

Statutory negligence is easier to prove. The police report from the accident will generally state if a driver violated any traffic laws. If this is the case, they are considered negligent with no additional evidence, also known as negligent “per se.” If this is the case, it is up to the other driver to prove that they weren’t negligent.

Ways to Prove Fault

Having the proper evidence to provide the insurance company when seeking a settlement is essential. Here are some ways you can prove fault in a car accident.

#1. Evidence from the Accident

Collect as much evidence as possible from the accident site. You will need this evidence to prove that you aren’t at fault during your case.

Take as many photos as possible of the damage to the vehicles and the area where the accident occurred. If you have been injured, ask a bystander to take as many pictures as possible of the accident. These photos will be vital evidence during the investigation.

#2. Exchange Information With the Other Driver

Be sure to exchange contact information with the other driver. Exchanging information doesn’t so much prove fault, but you will need the other driver’s insurance information when filing a claim for the accident.

#3. Find Witnesses

If anyone was around to see the accident, getting their information can be vital for your case. Not only should you get their witness statement, but you should also exchange contact information with them. Their unbiased testimony can be valuable when proving fault.

#4. Review Traffic Laws

Traffic laws vary from state to state. Researching local traffic laws can help you better understand who was at fault.

#5. Get a Copy of the Police Report

After an accident, your first call should be to the police. When the officers arrive on the scene, they will speak to all involved to gather information for their accident report.

The accident report outlines what happened in the accident and any conclusions officers made regarding who was at fault. The police report can be used as evidence for legal proceedings or insurance claim purposes.

#6. Don’t Admit Fault

A car accident can quickly become a serious legal matter. If you even hint to the other driver, police, or the insurance company that you may be at fault, your credibility will be questioned, and you risk implying that you were at fault in the accident. Avoid this by not speaking to anyone except your attorney about what happened at the accident.

Let Hann Law Firm Help With Your Car Accident Case

Trying to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company can be challenging after you’ve been in an accident. If you have been involved in an accident and need legal advice on how to prove that you weren’t at fault, turn to Hann Law Firm.

Whatever legal challenge you’re facing, you can depend on the dedicated, skilled attorneys at Hann Law Firm to walk you through the legal process. From your initial consultation, we will listen to your needs and concerns and work with you to address your specific challenges. Then, we will diligently prepare your case and get you the best possible outcome to help you reach your goals.

You and your case matter to us. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Do I Have to File a Police Report for a Car Accident in California?

car accident

With nearly 39 million people in California, there is no doubt that you are bound to be in a car accident at some point living or visiting the golden state. Many assume that if they are involved in a minor auto collision that they are not required to file a police report and only quickly exchange information before rushing off.

While in the moment, you may want to move along with your day or have pressing matters at hand to tend to instead. The adrenaline and stress of the accident may cause you to say everything is okay, but then later find yourself feeling symptoms of an injury from the accident. When you fail to file a police report, you lack the important information needed to file an insurance claim that may have a detrimental effect on compensation you deserve.

What to Do After An Accident in California

Reporting an accident is not only going to help in receiving compensation for your injuries, but it is the law in California. A driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that resulted in any injuries or death has 24 hours to report the crash to highway patrol or the police department where the accident happened.

Not only do you need to report your accident to law enforcement, but the DMV also needs a report within 10 days of the accident that caused an injury, death, or property damage that exceeds $1,000.

It is especially important to file a police report in these situations:

  • Multiple injuries
  • Any deaths
  • More than one car was involved
  • Property damages over $1,000

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Even if you do not think you have been injured in the accident, you should receive medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms of spinal or muscle injuries may not be noticeable until days after the accident has happened. In the same way that a police report will be able to provide evidence that you were not at fault, a medical examination and report will provide the evidence of your injuries.

Document the Scene

You can never have too much information or documentation when it comes to your accident. After ensuring everyone involved in the accident is not injured, and only if it is safe to do so, document the scene by taking pictures of the vehicles involved and the location of the accident. In addition to the photos, gather names and addresses of any witnesses to the accident.

Why Are Police Reports Important

A police report is considered an unbiased report of your accident, making it more valuable than a claim or the at-fault driver’s recollection of the incident. If you decide to file a personal injury claim after the accident, the police report is a necessary document for your insurance company.

A police report offers a neutral viewpoint of what has happened at the accident by providing factors like:

  • The location of the accident
  • Date and time of the accident
  • Damages of vehicles involved and any other property
  • Any injuries to drivers, passengers, or others
  • Statements from both drivers involved
  • Statements and contact information from witnesses of the accident
  • Environmental conditions at the time of the accident

How to File a Police Report in California

Immediately call the police after your car accident. Once they have arrived on the scene, discuss the details of your accident and answer all questions. The responding officer will interview the other driver, as well as any witnesses, then determine how the accident happened. Once they have written a traffic collision report, ask for a copy for your records.

When accidents are not as severe, the police may not respond to the scene if it is a minor accident with no reported injuries. If this is the case, be sure to file an accident report within 24 hours to the police station.

The accident report is evidence that the other driver was present at the scene and was involved in the accident. A police report will be mandatory when you attempt to recover any damages, in case the other driver denies they were in the accident, are uninsured, and if the at-fault driver flees the scene of the accident.

Were You Involved in a Car Accident?

Once you have your police report, make sure to speak to an attorney before agreeing to any insurance company settlements. You may have many more costs for your pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of income, long term treatments, and more.

At Hann Law Firm, we fight for you every step of the way, keeping your best interest in mind and making sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today to request a consultation with one of our experienced San Jose personal injury lawyers.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor After A Car Accident?

car accident

When involved in an accident, it’s very common to feel as though you’re fine thanks to the rush of adrenaline. But even if you seem okay immediately after the accident, there is a chance you start feeling the effects of an injury days, weeks, or even months after the accident occurred. Waiting longer to go see a doctor can lower your chances of getting compensation when filing a personal injury claim, and can potentially harm chances of recovering fully from your injuries as well.

It’s stressful to be involved in an accident, of any kind, so thinking of what questions you should ask your doctor can elude you when you have so much happening. Here are some important questions to ask your doctor after being involved in a car accident.

Why Is It Important To See A Doctor After A Car Accident?

Maybe your body is seemingly in working order after an accident, but you could potentially be injured even if you can’t see it. Things like head injuries can have serious medical consequences when left untreated and when you don’t seek medical attention immediately, you pose a risk to your health. If you choose to wait to seek treatment, insurance companies may be able to claim that any injuries you suffer from are not related to the accident you were involved in, and not let you receive appropriate compensation. The more evidence you have with documentation, and the earlier you start gathering it, the stronger your personal injury claim will be.

What To Do Right After A Car Accident

Immediately after a car accident, if you are not in danger or harmed, check on the condition of the other driver or persons involved, exchange insurance and personal contact information, take photos, get names of witnesses, and then report the accident to the police. Even if you feel fine, try seeking medical attention immediately. Some injuries to the neck or back can take days or weeks to manifest and cause any pain.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor After A Car Accident

Whether you are receiving immediate medical attention after an accident, or having a follow up with your doctor later, here are some important questions to ask your physician.

What Are the Specifics of My Injury?

Ask your doctor about the specifics of your injuries. Knowing the specific bones broken, or nerves and muscles damaged, your doctor will be able to determine the extent of your injuries and give treatment options. Make sure to thoroughly document each visit to your doctor to keep track as you heal or find new symptoms or damage.

How Long Will It Take for Recovery?

All injuries and accidents are different, but there are averages on how long it takes for a certain injury to recover. Soft tissue damages will resolve after about a week, but more extensive injuries like broken bones or whiplash can take months or even years to heal. Your doctor will be able to tell you how long each injury will take to recover and create a plan towards your recovery.

What Treatment(s) Do I Need?

After a car accident, you may need more than one or two doctor visits. In some cases, injuries require long-term and ongoing treatments like medications, medical devices, surgery, physical therapy, or extended hospital stays. By asking your doctor what treatments they recommend, or if you need to see a specialist, it can give you a clearer picture on the total amount of medical expenses for your injury and what compensation you’ll need for them.

Should I Not Work At This Time, and When Can I Go Back?

Depending on the type of injury you have, and the work that you do, you may be required to take time off from work. Your doctor can write a note for your time off work, and provide all the necessary information for your recovery in the meantime. It can be difficult to not work when you have other life expenses piling up, so having documentation of lost wages should be included in your personal injury claim. Your doctor will determine when you can go back to work, and what your limitations may be, so you may receive financial compensation for your loss of wages and income while recovering.

Can I Have a Copy of My Medical Records?

Ask your doctor for all of your medical records with each visit. This provides all the necessary information for your case, and allows your attorney to have a stronger case to support your claim. Because your injuries can potentially get worse, it is very important to have documentation through every step of treatment and healing.

Personal Injury Lawyers in California

At Hann Law Firm in San Jose, California, we help with pain and suffering, lost wages, and other punitive damages caused by all types of injuries, from slip-and-falls to car accidents. Figuring out what is the next step with your personal injury claim can be difficult to navigate while also managing other parts of your life. Our experienced accident attorneys work tirelessly to ensure compensation for you, so you can focus on healing.

Contact us today; nobody needs to face these challenges alone. Get the compensation you deserve.