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How is fault decided in California?

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2020 | Vehicle Accidents |

California is notorious for lots of traffic. We have so many great things to offer, but there’s no getting around our busy roads. When that Golden State traffic turns into an accident, how do we know which driver is at fault and has to pay?

At-fault laws

California is a state that uses at-fault laws, also known as tort. This means that if you want to get compensation from another driver, you’re going to have to prove they are at fault for the accident.

Pure comparative negligence laws

If you pursue compensation for your accident and it ends up going to court, you will be dealing with pure comparative negligence laws. This means that the blame for an accident isn’t immediately placed completely on one person. Rather, the court will actually split the fault between the parties. So, if you’re partially at fault for the accident, you may only get a part of your damages paid for.

What does the at-fault driver have to pay for?

As you are assessing the damages of your car accident, you need to know what to look for. Here are some examples of common accident damages:

  • Damage to the vehicle
  • Injuries and medical expenses
  • Lost wages and time from work
  • Emotional distress or resulting life changes

California doesn’t have a limit for the damages that can be compensated. However, there is a statute of limitations, or time limits, for filing your case, which varies based on your claim. If you are claiming a personal injury suit, you have two years. If you are claiming property damage, you have three.

As a driver in California, it’s always a good idea to know the basics of car accident laws. Still, you’re not required to be an expert. If you are in an accident, you should always document what happened, get information from the other party involved and talk to legal professionals and law enforcement.