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Who Is At Fault In Car Accidents

How to Determine Who is at Fault

A traffic accident can result in minor or major injuries and it is difficult to determine who is at fault. Figuring out who is responsible for the crash often times depends on whether somebody was negligent. Determining liability can be complicated, which is why you want a lawyer on your side.

In most cases, everyone tries to avoid liability, even when they are responsible for the accident. There is also the idea that, if we are at fault in a traffic accident, the insurance company will not pay. Or maybe we do not want to lose the premium discount on our insurance policy.

Usually if one individual involved in the car crash was less careful than another, the less careful person must pay for some of the damages suffered by the more careful party.

Contact Avrek Law For Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident don’t hesitate to contact our car accident attorneys. With over 50 years experience and over $1 Billion recovered for our clients, we’re here to help.

You can reach us 24/7 either on our website or call us for a free consultation at 866-598-5548.

Fighting the insurance companies alone can be frustrating and overwhelming. Certain cases are complicated like if you are hit by an Uber or Lyft driver.

proving fault in accidents

Proving Fault in Different Car Accident Scenarios

There are many causes of car accidents and we have tried to explain the basics below.

If you were injured in a motorcycle wreck, bicycle accident, or even hit by a car while walking, we can help.

Accident in a parking lot

This accident occurs mainly in the city or parking lots; the vehicle that is moving or parking collides with a parked vehicle, regardless of external conditions (little space).

Parking lot accidents are basically the same as other car accidents, but they are trickier to determine fault.

Parking lots are subject to the “fault determination rules” which are just guidelines that insurance adjusters use to determine fault.

Guilty: The guilt will typically be on the driver who performs the maneuver that provokes the accident.

In the event that the parked vehicle is in violation of a traffic law, it will only be credited to an infraction.

T-bone accident

A side impact collision occurs when a vehicle collides with the side of another one.

Often called T-bone accidents or side impact, these crashes can be very dangerous because the car doors usually do not have the material needed to absorb the impact of a high-speed crash.

rear end car crash


It is one of the most common accidents; when we are driving and the vehicle in front of us stops and we do not have time to stop.

And next thing you know you’ve rear-ended the car in front of you.

In this case the concept of the ideal distance between two vehicles often applies.

Guilty: In this type of accident (99% of the time) it is the party that hits the back of the front car that is the one to blame.

Even if the front vehicle stops abruptly and the vehicle behind it is driving at an adequate speed, it must always maintain a corresponding safety distance to avoid a rear-end collision.

Left turn

It is another of the most common traffic accidents when a car making a turn to the left hits another vehicle.

A car making a left turn is almost always at fault for a collision with a car coming straight ahead from the other direction.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule if you can prove –

  1. The car going straight ahead was speeding
  2. The car going straight went through a red light
  3. The car turning left started its turn when it was safe to do so, but then it slowed down (this is rare and hard to prove)

Changing lanes

It is an accident that occurs when there are two vehicles driving in parallel, each vehicle in its own lane and one of them gets hit.

Generally speaking you need to make certain you can safely change lanes before doing so.

But the other driver is also required to drive in a reasonably safe manner to avoid a wreck.

This type of accident is tricky and can even end up with shared liability.

Accident in intersection

Priority is the preference that a road or a vehicle has in respect to other roads or vehicles, this is according to the definition of the Californian traffic code.

Intersection accidents are all too common in America, but some basic rules apply.

  • At unmarked intersections, except for roundabouts, the vehicle on the right has priority.
  • If two or more vehicles that cross in the opposite direction arrive at an intersection and one of them is going to turn left, the vehicle that is going straight ahead has priority.
  • When two vehicles that cross different roads arrive at an intersection and one of them is going to turn to the right, the vehicle on the right has priority.
  • When a vehicle wishes to turn left or right, it must first look for the lane closest to its turn and enter the other lane by the nearest one, according to the direction of traffic.

96 % of intersection related car accidents are due to driver error (according to the NHTSA).

How to Gather Evidence After an Accident?

Auto accidents are unexpected and stressful. Even the most careful drivers may be involved in an accident.

Learn more about what your car accident settlement might be worth and what to do after a car accident.

If you suffer an accident, Avrek law firm is committed to help you recover your peace of mind as soon as possible.

If you have recently had an accident, start by filing a claim, however, there are some steps you must take to collect evidence immediately after it occurs.

  • Do not sign any documents unless it is for the police or your insurance agent.
  • Take immediate notes about the accident, including specific damage to all involved vehicles, witness information, etc.
  • If the name on the car registration is different from the driver’s name, figure out the relationship.
  • Be nice, but do not tell anyone that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.
  • Indicate only the facts and just analyze the accident with the police and your insurance agent.
  • If possible, do not leave from the scene of the accident before the police and other drivers.

Police Reports and Car Accidents

If the police do come to the scene of your car accident (especially if they knew somebody was injured) they most likely made a written report of the accident.

Be sure to get a copy of the report. You can learn more about how to get a copy of a traffic accident report.

Depending on the accident, a police officer might clearly state in the report that someone violated a specific traffic law which caused the accident.

And other times the police report is vague and just mentions negligent behavior, but doesn’t confirm the violation caused the accident.

No matter what, make sure you get the police to file a report, get a copy for yourself, and if need be you can fight a police report.

How Auto Accident Liability is Determined

The fault or liability of a traffic accident is the cause that originated the event and is attributed to one or more persons involved in the incident.

Generally, a negligent party does not take care of due diligence and creates a risk for itself and for third parties.

These terms are very technical, but, basically the fault is attributed to the person responsible for the accident; the one who causes the incident.

And, as we have said, this guilt often responds to reckless behavior, although not in all cases.

Examples of recklessness are: answering the mobile phone while driving, speeding, DUI, aggressive drivers, not respecting traffic laws, etc.

In every accident there is at least one liable party, unless the mishap has occurred due to an event of nature (it is not the case of animals that cross the streets, but of floods, falling cascades, atmospheric elements, falling trees, etc.).

There are even cases in which there is a shared fault or responsibility, that is, the fault of the accident falls on several participants.

For example, and it is a classic case, a collision between a vehicle that skips a stop sign and another car that is speeding.

It is obvious that the vehicle that skips the stop sign has the majority of the fault, but the one that is speeding could also have avoided the risk if it were driving at a safe speed.

In order to claim compensation for traffic accidents, two points must be taken into account:

Guilt: already discussed above.

To define guilt is to define who is liable and, therefore, against whom to direct the claim.

Damage: whether property damage or personal injury.

Taking the damages into account is to consider how much we can claim as compensation for everything suffered.

The compensation for a traffic accident is calculated based on the two damages suffered, which may be property damage and personal injury.

The materials include any economic or property damage suffered by the victim.

While personal injuries relate to injuries, whether physical or psychological, and must be examined by a medical expert who specializes in the assessment of personal injury and justified with abundant medical documentation.

car accident fault

Determining Fault by Location of Damage to Vehicle

How do you prove the guilt of an accident? What evidence do I need?

Material damage: In many cases, the damage done to the vehicles already serves to demonstrate the dynamics of the accident and define guilt.

For example, in a rear-end collision, the fact that one of the vehicles has damage in the rear and the other has it in the front is already a strong indication of how the accident has occurred.

Even so, it is always better to gather more evidence than just photos.

Photographs: Although not in all cases, the photographs of how the vehicles were damaged after the event will usually facilitate the later reconstruction of the accident.

Who’s at Fault In a 3 Car (chain reaction) Accident?

To claim compensation for a chain accident or multiple collision, you must not be responsible for the accident.

In cases where the victim is solely responsible for the event, they cannot claim compensation for the damages suffered, as the law prevents this.

If you are not responsible for the accident then you can go after compensation for damages suffered in the event of a chain collision, whether property damage, personal injury, or both.

The material damages are those that suppose an economic loss to the victim, as a result of the accident.

The personal damages are the damages that directly affect the person, either in his physical sphere as well as in his psychic sphere, that is to say, we refer to injuries of both physical and psychological nature.

In order to claim compensation in this type of accident there is often much controversy, because in some cases the “culprit of the accident” considers that the accident has been caused by another person involved.

For example, when a chain collision is caused because a car is stopped on the road and you cannot avoid the collision, and the car driving behind you in turn collides with you, your insurance company must take care of the damages caused to the first car and the insurance of the car who crashed with you must pay for the damage to your car.

In the event that a car has hit you from behind and because of that impact the strength of the crash has been so great that you have moved and hit a third party, the car that hit you must take care of both damages, because if that car had not hit you, you would not have collided with the car ahead of you either.

Traffic Accident Lawyers in California

If you have been involved in a traffic accident and you do not know if you are entitled to compensation, call our lawyers who will tell you how to proceed with your claim.

Traffic accidents can occur in many different ways; it is best to consult with an expert to indicate who is to blame.

It is for these reasons that, if you or a loved one is injured in a California car accident, a car accident lawyer is necessary so that the insurance company cannot take advantage of innocent victims.

Wounded victims often cannot afford the proper medical care and need help getting their car fixed or compensation for their vehicle if it is a total loss.

Do not let the big insurance companies take advantage of you when you are most vulnerable.

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