If you drive regularly, chances are high that you will eventually get into a vehicle accident. While the damage may not be significant, you might still suffer some inconvenience and perhaps property damage.
However, when you are seriously injured, you should reach out to a Bakersfield car accident lawyer. Although many people believe they can handle a collision claim alone, the rules are complex, and a skilled injury attorney can increase your chances of achieving favorable results.
Fault Determines Who Pays Compensation
Under California law, the driver who caused an accident must pay for any losses suffered by other parties. Additionally, according to California Code §16020, drivers are required to have liability insurance coverage, and in practice, the insurance companies pay the other parties’ losses up to the at-fault motorist’s coverage limit.
Determining who is at fault is not always straightforward. Although a police officer’s report might indicate who caused the crash, their opinion is just one piece of evidence: each driver’s insurance company has the incentive to blame the other motorist.
A hardworking Bakersfield attorney can collect evidence such as dashcam footage, surveillance video, photos from the accident scene, witness statements, and any other information to determine how the vehicle collision occurred. In some cases, a legal representative might also hire an accident reconstruction if necessary. Once they identify who caused the vehicle collision, they can assert a claim against the at-fault driver, their insurance company, and anyone else who shares responsibility.
Who is Liable for a Motor Vehicle Crash?
Motor vehicle accidents often occur due to several factors, and multiple parties may be responsible, including vehicle manufacturers, cyclists, or local governments. As described in the California Civil Jury Instructions 405 and 406, California follows the pure comparative fault rule, meaning that when a jury hears evidence indicating more than one party had responsibility for a crash, they must deduct the plaintiff’s settlement by their percentage of fault.
Recoverable Damages in Car Accident Case
The insurance company for the at-fault driver is responsible for paying damages suffered by the victim. These damages include out-of-pocket expenses and non-economic losses: for example, the at-fault party must reimburse an injured person’s medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and future losses related to the vehicle collision. The victim can also claim compensation for intangible damages such as pain, inconvenience, humiliation, disability, and lost enjoyment of life.
When the at-fault driver’s coverage limit is insufficient, a legal can focus their investigation on identifying other responsible parties to increase the likelihood an injured person will receive reasonable compensation for their car crash-related losses.
An injured person who was negligent can collect damages from other negligent parties, but only for the portion they did not cause. In other words, if the jury finds the plaintiff 20 percent responsible for an accident, they can collect 80 percent of their damages. Although only a few of car crash cases go to trial, insurance companies use the comparative negligence rule when negotiating settlements. A diligent lawyer in Bakersfield can insist that the victim claiming damages does not bear an unfair portion of responsibility for a car wreck and fight to get the maximum compensation.
Trust Your Car Accident Claim to a Bakersfield Attorney
When you are hurt in a crash, do not try to manage your claim alone. Insurance company representatives work tirelessly to limit the amount they pay to people like you. Hiring a legal professional to represent you can level the playing field when negotiating your claim.
A Bakersfield car accident lawyer can find every potentially responsible party and ensure they contribute to your settlement. Schedule a consultation today to protect your rights and receive fair compensation for your losses.