When you get into a car accident, you are probably reeling. It’s overwhelming to figure out what happened and what you need to do now. As you work through getting the information of the other person involved and reporting the incident to your insurance company, you’re probably wondering who is going to pay for the damages that you are now facing.
Car accidents can leave you with medical bills, car repairs, lost time from work and significant mental stress. Here, we will lend a hand by explaining the basics of how the state decides who pays for those damages.
California’s fault laws
California Civil Code 1714 describes the state’s comparative negligence laws. This approach to fault in an accident focuses on allocating responsibility. The courts do this by splitting the blame between the involved parties by the degree to which they caused the accident. This consequentially splits the expenses and compensation as well.
How fault laws apply to you
In a real accident, these laws may play out like this: If one person is speeding and hits you while you are crossing an intersection, it would seem that they are at fault. However, if you did not wait and look at the stop sign when you paused, so you didn’t see the other person coming, you may be at fault as well. In this case, the blame could split because the other driver was speeding but you also did not see them.
So, let’s say that the fault was split by the courts, finding you 40% guilty and the other person 60% guilty. This means that you could get 60% of the damages from the other person.
The good thing about comparative negligence laws is that you will most of the time you will have the opportunity to seek compensation when you need it, which can help you recover from an accident.