How Can You Prove Negligence in an LA Car Accident?
According to the most recent data released by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), approximately 275,000 people are injured in motor vehicle collisions across the state annually. Unfortunately, some of the injuries are catastrophic, even life-altering. Nearly 4,000 people are killed in car accidents in California each year. Tens of thousands more suffer severe injuries.
Following a significant crash, you need financial compensation to pay your bills and support yourself and your loved ones. To hold another driver/company liable for your car crash, you must prove that their negligent conduct contributed to the collision. Here, our LA car accident lawyers explain how you can prove negligence in a motor vehicle collision case in California.
Car Accident Liability is Based on Negligence in California
As a starting point, it is important to understand the legal concept of negligence. As defined in the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, proving negligence requires establishing the following:
- The defendant had a legal duty to use care;
- The defendant breached such a legal duty; and
- The defendant’s breach was the proximate cause of the resulting injury.
In other words, negligence occurs when a party who had a responsibility to take precautions failed to do so and, as a result, another person suffered an injury. In car accident cases, negligence takes many forms, including speeding, unsafe lane changes, distracted driving, and drunk driving.
An Overview of the Evidence You Can Use to Prove Negligence
California is a fault-based motor vehicle accident state. Proving negligence requires presenting compelling, well-organized evidence that clearly demonstrates the defendant’s culpability. In an auto accident case, relevant liability evidence can come in many different forms. Some common examples of evidence that you can use to prove negligence includes:
- Police Report: Car accidents should be reported to law enforcement. In California, drivers have a legal responsibility to report any crash that results in an injury or major property damage. The police report can serve as an important form of evidence.
- Photographs: It is always best to take extensive pictures of an accident—especially if you believe that another party was at-fault. The more photos you have, the better. You never know which picture will contain a small detail that makes the case. These pictures can be used to build a strong case proving negligence.
- Witness Statements: A statement from a third party witness can be a powerful form of testimony. In the immediate aftermath of a crash, try to secure the contact information for anyone who saw the crash.
- Your Testimony: Your version of events matter. They can be used to support a case proving a defendant’s negligence. The best thing you can do is to take a moment to write down exactly what happened right away after the crash. Contemporaneous notes are a useful form of evidence.
- Video Cameras: If you are involved in a crash in an urban or suburban area, it is a good idea to take a quick look to see if there are any cameras close by. In some cases, motor vehicle collisions are caught on camera. Alternatively, there may be other relevant information in the recording.
- Electronic Records: In some cases, electronic records may be relevant to proving negligence. Cell phone records are an example. If you believe that the other driver was texting or talking on the phone, your attorney may get access to their cell phone records.
- Truck Company Records: Large commercial truck accidents are unique. If you were involved in a crash with a tractor trailer, call an LA personal injury attorney right away. There are many records held by the trucking company that could be used to prove its negligence.
Every auto accident in LA requires a proactive and comprehensive investigation. The sooner you hire an attorney to investigate your accident, the more confident you can feel that all relevant evidence will be gathered, secured, and organized so that you can prove negligence and recover the full and fair financial compensation that you deserve.
Call Our LA Car Accident Injury Attorneys Today
At Fisher & Talwar, our Los Angeles auto accident lawyers fight aggressively to protect the legal rights and financial interests of our clients. You deserve justice. If you have questions about proving negligence after a traffic collision, we are ready and willing to help. Call us now or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation. We represent auto accident victims throughout Southern California, including in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Long Beach, Glendale, Burbank, and Riverside.