Who is at Fault for My San Diego Car Accident?

Car accidents in California fall under tort law, which governs the relationships between people. If someone harms you, tort law will determine whether they are liable for the injury and owe you compensation.

If another party is responsible for causing your car accident, they will likely be liable for your damages. But how does the law determine fault? Mission Personal Injury Lawyers answers this question below. Contact our law offices today at (619) 777-5555 for a personal free initial consultation.

How Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After an Accident in San Diego

How Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After an Accident in San Diego

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers has fought for the rights of injured San Diegans since 2010. Our San Diego car accident lawyers have a 99% success rate and have recovered tens of millions of dollars in injury compensation for the firm’s clients.

When you hire us, you can expect us to:

  • Investigate your car accident and gather evidence of the other party’s fault
  • Calculate the value of your claim
  • Work with leading experts to strengthen your claim if necessary
  • Handle communications and negotiations 
  • Take your case to court to protect your rights

Injuries that are the result of a car accident can cause you to incur significant medical expenses and suffer substantial income losses. Contact Mission Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the injury compensation that you may be entitled to.

How Common Are San Diego Car Accidents?

For its size, the city of San Diego has a relatively low number of car accidents. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, San Diego had 5,578 car accidents that caused an injury or death in one recent year, placing the city in 12th place among California’s 15 largest cities.

Still, this does not necessarily represent the frequency of San Diego car accidents involving fault. According to statistics, those 5,578 included 617 pedestrian accidents and 356 bicycle accidents, and also included approximately 1,500 single-vehicle accidents. 

Therefore, San Diego had roughly 3,100 car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents, where fault was at issue.

Overview of Determining Fault for a San Diego Car Accident

Car accidents in California fall under tort law, which imposes three types of liability:

Strict Liability

Strict liability applies to specific situations, including when a party releases products into the stream of commerce. For example, when a business releases a car with a defective airbag inflator, that company will be at fault for any resulting injuries or deaths.

Intentional Torts

Intentional torts occur when someone intends to perform an action that results in harm. In an aggressive driving case, for example, a driver may deliberately bump another vehicle. Even if the driver did not intend consequences such as injury or death, the driver would still be at fault for the accident.

Negligent Torts

Negligent torts transpire when someone breaches a legal duty owed to someone else. In the case of traffic accidents, every driver must drive with reasonable care. When a driver fails to meet that standard, they are at fault for any injuries or deaths resulting from an accident they’re involved in.

3 Scenarios for Fault

Regardless of the legal theory that underlies the case, you could end up with three scenarios of fault in an accident:

No Driver Is at Fault

Accidents happen where neither driver involved is at fault for the resulting damages. None of the drivers intended to hit any other vehicle, and they each acted with reasonable care.

Some situations where no driver is at fault include accidents caused by:

  • A damaged or slick road where no driver had a reasonable opportunity to avoid an accident
  • Weather conditions where every driver drove with reasonable prudence
  • A vehicle breakdown that no driver could have reasonably anticipated or avoided

With the third situation, in particular, another party might be at fault for the accident, such as:

  • Auto manufacturers
  • Auto parts suppliers
  • Repair shops

If your car had a defective part or was repaired negligently, you might have a claim to file against one of these parties.

One Driver Is at Fault

One driver could be at fault if they were the only driver who acted intentionally or negligently, causing the accident. Some examples of driver behaviors that can expose a driver to liability include:

Under a doctrine called negligence per se, a driver usually bears liability if they broke a traffic law that directly caused the crash.

Multiple Drivers Are at Fault

Multiple drivers could share the fault for an accident if they each contributed to the cause of that accident.

California uses a legal doctrine called pure comparative negligence, under which every person bears liability for their share of the accident’s cause.

For example, suppose that a claims adjuster or jury were to find you 30% at fault for an accident and the other driver was 70% at fault. You’d get 70% of your damages paid back to you (100% minus your 30% share of the fault), while the other driver would receive back 30% of their damages (100% minus their 70% share of the fault).

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our San Diego Car Accident Lawyers

Analyzing the fault for a San Diego car accident can require legal knowledge and experience. To discuss your car accident and who may bear fault for it, contact Mission Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. Our San Diego car accident lawyers are here to help.

Common Car Accident Claims We Cover

Our law firm handles all types of car accident cases involving:

San Diego Car Accident Resources