Car Crashes: Causation And Fault

All too often, individuals who have been involved in injurious accidents assume that they understand exactly what caused any harm resulting from such crashes. In reality, it is often very difficult to accurately determine causation and fault in re: a wreck in its immediate aftermath. Far more often, it is likely that the parties involved won’t know what happened – at least, with any true degree of certainty – until the circumstances of an accident have been thoroughly and objectively investigated by an attorney.

As a result of this reality, you should avoid making any assumptions about your legal situation until you’ve spoken with a lawyer about your crash. Depending upon the nuances of what happened to you, you may be in a position to receive considerable compensation as a result of any physical harm you’ve suffered due to the crash.

What Happened?

As an experienced car accident attorney – including those who practice at Glotzer & Leib, LLP – can confirm, accurately determining the causation of a crash allows for fault related to that wreck to be allocated justly. Until the true cause(s) of an accident have been revealed, fault cannot be properly assigned. Once an attorney has investigated the circumstances of an accident and accurately determined what happened, injury victims can decide whether they wish to file legal action against those who have caused (totally or partially) the harm they’ve suffered.

Generally speaking, state law empowers injury victims to seek personal injury damages against other parties (such as fellow motorists and manufacturers of defective car parts) if those parties have contributed to the cause(s) of their harm as a result of intentionally harmful, negligent, or reckless actions or inactions. This is a complex, context-based standard that doesn’t apply in the exact same ways to every case. As a result, it’s important to connect with a lawyer who can explain how this standard will apply in your case uniquely.

Comparative Fault

It is critically important to understand that you may remain entitled to pursue personal injury damages against those who have contributed to the cause(s) of your harm, even if your actions have also contributed to the cause(s) of that harm. In California, car accident injury victims benefit from a legal theory known as “pure comparative negligence.” This theory holds that victims remain entitled to pursue personal injury damages from others whose negligence, recklessness, or intentionally dangerous conduct directly contributed to their harm regardless of the percentage of fault assigned to the victim in question.

Work-Related Accidents: Unique Considerations

Note that workers’ compensation insurance claims adjusters aren’t generally concerned with “what happened” or whose fault an employee’s injurious circumstances were. If you’re applying for workers’ compensation benefits in the aftermath of a crash, know that the workers’ comp system is primarily concerned with whether you’re eligible for these benefits and whether your crash was work-related. The workers’ comp system isn’t fault-based, so this narrowly tailored set of concerns is understandable.