California being an at-fault state, victims of auto accidents can file a claim against the other driver’s auto insurance company and so seek compensation for their injuries and other losses. This means determining the other driver’s fault, and it can go about in one of two ways.
First, one may use common law’s recognition of four types of fault. The lowest is negligence, or careless conduct that inadvertently leads to harm. Then there are wanton and intentional misconduct, which involve the conscious disregard of others’ safety. Lastly, there is the idea of strict liability, which can be brought up regardless of fault. For instance, one may impose this if the other party’s car had a defect that led to the crash.
The second way of establishing fault is by proving the violation of a motor vehicle statute: for example, a statute on speeding or using a phone behind the wheel. Such a violation is presumed from the beginning to be negligent.
Victims may need to apply the concept of proximate cause to their case as well. To say that a violation was the proximate cause of the crash is to say that were it not for that violation, the crash would not have occurred or the injuries would not have been so severe.
Victims may be partially to blame, in which case whatever amount they might be eligible to recover in damages will be lowered. To ensure a fair settlement, then, victims may want the advice and guidance of a lawyer who focuses on motor vehicle accidents and who may have a network of third parties like crash investigators and medical experts to help with the case. The lawyer may handle all negotiations and prepare the case for court as a last resort.