How It Works

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There are a number of instances where an individual who is injured in a car accident is partly to blame for the accident. When this is the case, how does a person navigate receiving compensation for the injury or the damage to their vehicle? This article will discuss this subject.

In a personal injury claim the person who is said to be at fault for the car accident is ultimately the person responsible for paying for any damage caused by the accident as a result of their negligence [Negligence | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (]. But, in the event that it is difficult to determine who is at fault, or if there is more than one party at fault for the accident, fault may have to be apportioned or measured as between the negligent parties. If you need legal advice with regard to your car accident, speak to a Bakersfield car accident attorney at today.

The state of California uses pure comparative negligence laws when it comes to matters of fault. This basically means that even if a party is 99% negligent in an accident, he or she still has the right to receive compensation for their injuries or losses as damages. However, the question that comes next is who determines fault in a car accident?

When filing a car accident insurance claim it is the insurance company that makes the first determination as to fault. They assign percentage of each party’s fault for the accident corresponding to the conduct of each driver, at least in their opinion. In order to determine who is at fault and their percentage of fault, the insurance claims adjuster bases the percentage of fault on the circumstances linked to the accident and state laws in order to come up with the determination of the driver that acted negligently in the car accident. A good lawyer representing you may be able to fight the insurance company’s determination of fault.

There are a number of scenarios that may play out when it comes to the percentage of fault and the receipt of compensation. Some of them are:

  • An insurance company will pay their insured’s amount of fault and the claimant’s insurance company pays the remainder, or
  • The insurance company whose driver has the largest percentage of fault may pay the entire claim

The determination of how much payment will be made as compensation depends on the insurance company’s policies in this regard, as well as on a lawyer’s ability to fight for the maximum amount of compensation.

It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to work together with their clients in order to determine the party’s percentage of fault. However, if the driver does not agree with the insurance adjuster with regards to the percentage of fault, the driver may choose to seek legal counsel and the matter may go to court to determine fault and the percentage of fault.

There are a number of factors that affect the determination of fault. Some of these are:

  • Negligence laws – the way the state views negligence are applied. For example, if the state has adopted pure comparative fault.
  • Police reports and other evidence – a review of the police report gives an idea of the accident and any related evidence must be reviewed too. Even of the police determine one party is at fault, a personal injury lawyer may be able to challenge that determination.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) – in some states, PIP pays out to a driver despite fault.  California, however, does not have PIP, but on other states an injured person might be able to take advantage of PIP even if they are at fault.

The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP is a full-service law firm serving Bakersfield, California and all of Kern County. Our firm is recognized as a leader in the community, and we offer and extensive and wide variety of legal services including, but not limited to water law, personal injury, business law, employment and labor law, estate planning, real estate, and much more. Please reach out today to talk to a member of our team.