You may believe that you are a defensive and cautious driver when you are behind the wheel. However, auto accidents happen regularly, most often when we are least expecting them. What should you do if you are involved in an accident and feel that it was at least partially your fault?
The first thing to do is to handle the immediate situation. Move the cars involved out of traffic if possible. If there are injuries, call 911 so both medical responders and police officers arrive on the scene. These are the standard steps for any auto accident and will help ensure that both your health and your legal rights are protected.
Drivers involved in crashes may feel that either they were the innocent victim of someone else’s driving or that they were the cause of the accident. As an involved driver, it is not your job to determine fault or liability. That is the responsibility of the police department, the insurance companies, and your personal injury attorney. So then what do you say or do once an accident happens?
Your first obligation after making the necessary phone calls for assistance is to provide your auto insurance information to other involved individuals and the police department. Remember, you do not want to say or do anything that could be taken as an admission of responsibility (for example, never say you are sorry for anything as this can be mistaken as you apologizing for causing the accident).
California follows a “pure” comparative negligence rule in car accident cases. This means that there may be more than one driver at fault in an accident. For example, let’s say you waited at a stop sign and pulled out without putting your turn signal on. Then, another driver completely runs their stop sign and your vehicles collide. A court may determine you are 10 percent at fault, meaning that the compensation you are entitled to would be reduced by 10 percent as well.
How an Attorney Can Help You
Determining fault can be complex, especially if you are attempting to do it alone. Just because you believe you are partly at fault does not mean this is legally true. Even being partly at fault does not necessarily mean you will be pursued for compensation, nor does it necessarily mean you can’t sue the other at-fault driver.
Then what do you do if you feel you were at fault in a car accident? You do the same thing as if you were not at fault. You talk to competent, experienced attorneys to determine your course of action. The legal staff at McGee, Lerer & Associates has over 40 years of experience representing injury victims in California. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Contact our firm at (310) 231-9717 for a free case evaluation!