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Tahmazian Law Firm, P.C. Tahmazian Law Firm, P.C.
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glendale personal injury lawyerRarely is a car accident 100% the fault of one individual. While there are certainly some cases where the blame is clearly only on one driver, it is more common for multiple drivers to have contributed to the accident in some way. Luckily, in California, you may still be able to recover from a car accident even if you are partially responsible. California law is more laid back compared to many other states in this regard. California uses what is known as the pure comparative negligence system, which generally allows people to win compensation proportionate to their share of fault. 

Dividing blame in a car accident can be technically and legally challenging. It is important to consult an attorney before attempting to bring a claim for a motor vehicle accident you may be assigned some level of fault for. 

What Does Pure Comparative Negligence Mean in California?

The pure comparative negligence rule in California means that people who were hurt in an accident can be permitted to recover damages for whatever portion of the accident was not their fault. For example, if you are 50% at fault for your injuries, you can recover 50% of what you would have if the blame had been 100% on the other driver. 

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California car accident lawyerRight after a car crash, it may feel as if there are an overwhelming number of things you need to do. Seeking emergency medical care where needed is always the first priority, but much needs to happen after an accident. You will need to exchange information with the other driver, flag down witnesses, take pictures, and perhaps more importantly, file a police report. Calling the police from the accident scene and having them come take a report builds valuable evidence that can be used to prove your claim later. Your next step would be contacting an attorney. 

Why Should I File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

A police report creates an objective account of the accident from a neutral, third-party viewpoint. This valuable record can later be used as evidence to prove who and what caused the crash. It is critical that you do not skip this step. Reasons to file a police report after a crash include: 

  • Mandatory - If the accident caused injury or death, you are legally required to report it within 24 hours. For crashes that caused property damage over $1,000, you have ten days to report it. It is inadvisable to wait that long, however. If you can, call the police while you are still on the side of the road so they can observe the accident scene close to the time it happened. 

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glendale car crash lawyerUnder California law, when a person is injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, that driver is legally liable for any losses the victim suffers because of those injuries. These losses can include medical expenses, lost wages if the victim was unable to work while they recovered, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and more. Tennessee’s “dram shop” law also provides another avenue of financial justice for victims of drunk driving accidents: the right to sue the source of where the drunk driver obtained the alcohol that caused their intoxication.

California’s Dram Shop Law

The majority of states in the U.S. have passed some form of dram shop law. The word “dram” originated in the 18th century by the British and referred to a measurement of a three-quarter teaspoon of alcohol.

Under most dram shop laws, any vendor that sells alcohol falls under the dram shop law. This includes restaurants and bars, but can also include liquor stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations. A drunk driving accident victim can bring a dram shop claim against a vendor if they can show that the vendor sold alcohol to a person who was “visibly intoxicated,” and the driver’s alcohol consumption was a direct cause of the accident that caused the injury.

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California personal injury attorneysThere are many forms of negligence by drivers that can cause car accidents. Among these, distracted driving is one of the most common. Even though there are laws prohibiting drivers from using electronic devices or engaging in other activities that distract them from the act of driving, many people disregard these laws out of the belief that they can drive safely while multitasking. Drivers in California will want to understand the specific laws that address distracted driving. Those who have been injured in a motor vehicle collision will need to work with an attorney to determine how they can hold a negligent driver responsible for their damages.

California Laws Regarding Electronic Devices

Drivers in California are prohibited from using handheld cell phones or other electronic devices while they are in control of a vehicle. However, drivers are allowed to use a device in hands-free mode, including having phone conversations through their car’s speakers or Bluetooth devices or using voice-activated commands. Drivers who are under the age of 18 are prohibited from using electronic devices in any way while behind the wheel.

Typically, drivers who violate the law by making calls while holding a cell phone, texting while driving, manually dialing a phone, looking up information, browsing the internet, or otherwise operating an electronic device may be charged with traffic violations, which will usually result in a fine. However, as of July 1, 2021, violations involving electronic devices will also add points to a driver’s record, and multiple traffic violations could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license.

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