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Proving Negligence in California Car Accidents

Proving Negligence in California Car Accidents

Providing Negligence

A serious car accident can disrupt your entire life, financially and emotionally. When someone else is to blame for the car accident, you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

No matter what circumstances led to your car accident and your injuries, there is usually an insurance company liable to compensate you. However, to succeed in a car accident claim against the liable insurance company, you will need to prove negligence on the part of the driver who caused the car accident in which you were injured.

The experienced personal injury lawyers at eAccidents can investigate your car accident thoroughly to ensure that negligence for the accident is assigned properly and that you obtain the best result possible for your car accident claim. Call us today at 844-400-0123 to arrange a free consultation.

What is Negligence in California?

In the most ordinary context, a person is said to be negligent when he or she fails to act in a way that a reasonably prudent person would have acted under similar circumstances with regard to the safety and well-being of others. For example, if a driver ran a red light and caused a car accident, they will be considered to have acted negligently with regard to the safety of other drivers on the road.

The Four Elements of Negligence Needed for a California Car Accident Claim

To prove negligence in a car accident case in California, you must prove the existence of the following four elements:

  1. Legal Duty of Care 

A legal duty of care arises when the law recognizes a relationship between two parties, and due to this relationship, one party has a legal duty to act in a certain manner towards the other. For example, all licensed drivers have a duty to exercise care with regard to the safety of other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians who share the roadway. They are required to abide by traffic signals and laws and must refrain from causing unreasonable danger to others.

  • Breach of Duty

A person or entity breaches a duty of care by failing to fulfill their legal duty with regard to the safety of others. For instance, if a driver failed to stop at a stop sign and hit a second vehicle that had already entered the intersection, the driver of the first vehicle will have breached his or her legal duty with regard to the safety of others, and to abide by traffic signals and laws. 

  • Causation or Proximate Cause 

The defendant’s breach of duty must be the legal cause of your damages. For instance, if in the example above, the driver of the second vehicle suffered a broken leg, the driver of the first vehicle’s breach of duty is the proximate cause of that broken leg. This is because, but for the driver of the first vehicle’s failure to stop at the stop sign, the driver of the second vehicle would not have suffered a broken leg.

  • Damages 

Actual loss or injury must have been suffered as a result of the defendant’s breach of duty. For instance, using the same example, if the driver of the second vehicle requires extensive surgery and misses months off work, the cost of his medical treatment and the amount of his lost wages are actual damages that are the result of the first driver’s breach of duty.  These damages, along with others, can be remedied by monetary compensation. 

Pure Comparative Negligence in California

Often, the cause of a car accident is obvious—one party was paying attention and driving responsibly, and the other party wasn’t. But sometimes the cause of the accident isn’t so clear-cut, and both parties involved were partially negligent. 

Fortunately, in California, we have something called Pure Comparative Negligence. This means that even if you are found to be partially negligent with regard to the accident in which you were injured, you may still be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

However, the amount of damages you can recover will be reduced by your own percentage of fault. For example, if the other driver is 80% at fault while you are 20% at fault, and your total losses were assessed at $100,000, your recoverable damages would be reduced by 20% to $80,000.

Contact an Experienced California Personal Injury Lawyer

It is an injury lawyer’s job to investigate the cause of your accident and make sure that the liable insurance company compensates you fairly for your injuries. At eAccidents, we will investigate your car accident claim to prove who is responsible.  We will then take that proof to the insurance company, and to a judge and jury if necessary, to help you obtain the compensation that you deserve. If you have been injured in a car accident in California, contact us immediately at 844-400-0123 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced California personal injury lawyer.

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