What Are the Steps of a Car Accident Investigation?

Every state has different laws pertaining to car accidents, and California uses a fault-based system to determine liability for the damages resulting from a motor vehicle accident. This means that whoever causes an accident assumes responsibility for the damages, including property damage and bodily injury to other drivers and passengers. If you have recently experienced a car accident, determining fault for the incident will be a crucial first step if you intend to seek compensation for your damages. You could also have grounds to file a personal injury claim, depending on the severity of your damages.

Before you can file an insurance claim against another driver or compile a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your damages, you must determine who is responsible for causing it. A car accident investigation typically requires careful evaluation of whatever physical evidence is available from the scene of the crash and the vehicles involved as well as statements from eyewitnesses who saw the accident occur.

First Steps Following a Car Accident in California

The first steps you take after an auto accident can strongly affect subsequent legal proceedings. First, report the accident to 911 and wait for first responders to arrive. They will transport you to the nearest hospital if you need emergency medical treatment. If you can remain at the scene, the responding officers will likely ask you several questions about how the accident happened and other important details you recall. Be honest but do not say anything that could qualify as an admission of guilt.

Once you are allowed to leave the scene, you should seek medical care promptly, even if you think you only sustained minor injuries. This will create a formal record showing you were responsible following your accident and sought medical treatment for your car accident injuries. In addition, this will prevent any doubt on the validity of your injuries in your pursuit of compensation through an auto insurance claim and/or personal injury suit.

After obtaining a police report of the incident and receiving medical care for your injuries, you should speak with an experienced attorney about your legal options. The other driver’s insurance company will need to investigate your claim to ensure you qualify for coverage. Similarly, you and your attorney must conduct your investigation to establish fault for your damages.

Proving Liability for a Car Accident

California uses a fault-based system to resolve car accident disputes. This means whoever causes a car accident is responsible for the resulting damages. Depending on how they caused the accident, they can also face additional penalties. Drivers who cause accidents because of speeding, reckless driving, or operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol can face severe criminal penalties for these actions.

Your attorney can help you determine what evidence you will need to hold another driver accountable for the damages they’ve caused you. This may include traffic camera recordings, dashcam footage, statements from witnesses who saw the crash, and supporting testimony from relevant expert witnesses.

If the fault for your recent accident is clear, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier should have minimal room to dispute your claim. Your attorney can verify that the insurance carrier handles your claim in good faith and offers a fair settlement. Once you have exhausted your recovery options through insurance, remaining losses can potentially be recovered through a personal injury action against the at-fault driver.

The investigation into your recent car accident will be critical to your auto insurance claims and a personal injury suit resulting from the incident. The sooner you secure legal counsel you can trust to help you navigate these issues, the sooner you can begin obtaining compensation for your damages.

Comparative Fault in California Car Accident Cases

California’s pure comparative negligence law can come into play in subsequent legal proceedings if there are any disputes regarding liability for a car accident. For example, if an investigation reveals that both parties share fault for causing a vehicle accident, the facts of the case will determine each party’s fault percentage. Under California law, the plaintiff bearing partial liability for a car accident can still seek compensation for their losses, but they lose a percentage of their case award to reflect their comparative negligence.

An experienced attorney can help you address any concerns of comparative negligence that you may have in the aftermath of your car accident. The other driver’s insurance company may also allege comparative fault and use this as leverage to reduce their settlement offer or deny your claim. A good legal team will help you address these issues effectively, securing as much compensation as possible through insurance before assisting you with a personal injury suit against the at-fault driver.

Benefits of Legal Counsel After a Car Accident

Some car accident claims are straightforward, while others raise very complex questions of liability and involve substantial damages. Whatever your accident may involve, you will be best prepared to meet the challenges of your case when you have legal representation you can trust. First, your attorney can help you gather whatever evidence you need to succeed with an auto insurance claim. Then, once you have exhausted your recovery options through insurance, your attorney can guide you through building a personal injury claim to enhance your overall recovery.

Perry Personal Injury Lawyers has years of experience representing California clients in a wide range of difficult personal injury cases. We understand the unique legal issues that car accidents often generate and victims’ questions regarding their recovery options after these incidents. If you have recently experienced a car accident and liability isn’t immediately clear, you must be prepared for what could be a very tedious and extensive investigation. Your legal team will also need to conduct its own research on your behalf, helping you reach a suitable outcome for your case.

Ultimately, having an experienced attorney represent you after a car accident significantly improves your chances of recovering as much as possible from your losses. To explore your options for legal recourse following an accident someone else caused, contact Perry Personal Injury Lawyers today and schedule your consultation with our team.