Facebook pixel
Skip to Main Content

What Happens If A Car Accident Is My Fault?

Car accidents could get complex, especially if there are multiple parties involved. If you have been involved in a car accident, and believe that the accident was caused by another party, you have the right to file a claim or lawsuit against the responsible party for your damages, which could include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, etc.

But, what happens if the car accident was your fault? Could you still pursue a claim or lawsuit? This page discusses what could happen if you have caused a car accident, and what to expect.

We do want to advise that you should not assume fault if you are not sure. For example, if you are not sure that you were the cause of the accident, do not assume fault or guilt at the accident location. Instead, a full investigation starts after parties have filed claims or lawsuits. Insurance adjusters and attorneys then start to gather evidence and information to figure out which party was responsible for causing the accident. This is especially true if there are multiple vehicles involved. In multiple-vehicle accidents, the fault may not be easily determined after an accident.

Who is at fault in an accident?

One that drives negligently or recklessly is at fault for causing a car accident. Examples of how one could cause an accident include:

  •  Texting and driving: if you were texting and driving at the time of the accident, then a full investigation will reveal that you were responsible for causing the accident. When you were texting and driving, you are most likely distracted and had to take your eyes off the road, which then caused the accident.
  •  Running a red light: it is very important for all california drivers to follow traffic lights and stop signs. If you fail to follow a red light and instead drive through an intersection, you may have caused the car accident.
  •  Aggressive driving: although not many people realize, aggressive driving, such as tailgating, is illegal and you may be at fault in a car accident in the event that you collide with the other vehicle.
  •  Failing to yield to pedestrians: if you enter the intersection and fail to yield to pedestrians rightfully walking, you are responsible for the car accident.
  •  Changing lanes without a signal: before changing lanes, it is required that a driver signals to give nearby drivers notice of which direction they are to move forward. If you change your lane suddenly, it may result in sideswipe collisions.

Could more than one driver be responsible in an accident?

There could be several drivers responsible in an accident. The fault could be shared among the multiple drivers. This is usually determined after a car accident investigation.

 Could I still recover compensation even if I was partially at fault in an accident?

California is an at-fault state, and you could still recover a portion of your damages even if you were partially responsible for the accident. After an investigation is done, portions of the fault are assigned to each party. Based on your percentage, you could recover the rest of your damages.

For example, if you had $10,000 in damages, and you were found to be 30% liable for the accident, then you could still recover the $7,000 from the other responsible party.

How can we determine who was at fault in a car accident?

There are several key pieces of evidence that will help our attorneys in determining fault after an accident. Below are some factors we look at and review:

  •  Police report: after an accident, police officers arrive at the scene. These police officers then draft a collision report. The report is usually a summary of interviews done with each party involved in the accident. The officer also takes measurements and investigates the accident scene themself. But it is important to note that conclusions made on a police report do not necessarily mean you cannot file a lawsuit. For example, if the police report has concluded that you’re at fault, you may still be able to file a lawsuit. For more information, give us a call to discuss.
  •  Photos of the accident location: photos me explain how the accident occurred, and the rate at which the vehicles collided.  Photos could also help our attorneys determine what type of injuries each party could have suffered.
  •  Witness statements: witness statements are taken to determine who may have caused the accident.
Young driver inspecting vehicle damage after accident she caused

When is fault determined in a car accident lawsuit?

Fault in an accident is determined after an investigation is done. This means that the determination of fault is not made in the initial stages of a lawsuit or claim. Instead, attorneys work hard through written discovery, working with experts, and reviewing all key pieces of evidence to determine the responsibility of each party.

Am I at fault if I rear-end someone?

Usually, the person who rear-ended another is responsible for causing a rear-end collision. But, this is not always the case. For example, if the vehicle in front slammed on its brakes for no reason, then they are responsible for causing the rear-end collision. That is why we recommend a highly-rated attorney representing you in car accident cases. Car accidents are not so clear-cut, and may require extensive investigation. We recommend that you contact us right away after you have been involved in an accident.

What should I do if I am responsible for a car accident in California?’

  1. The first step is to pull over to a safe location.  If the accident occurred on the freeway, and the vehicles are drivable, then both vehicles should move to the shoulder to move forward with exchanging information.
  2.  If any party is injured, make sure that someone calls 911 for immediate medical assistance.
  3.  Exchange contact information, including insurance information, and driver’s license information, along with phone number and license plate information.
  4.  If there is extensive property or bodily damage, you should call the police straight away. The police will then start to generate a police report.

Will my insurance pay for damages if I am at fault?

If the other party files a claim with your insurance company, then your insurance will pay a portion of the damages that you have caused. However, the insurance company may only pay up to a certain amount. This means that if there is a gap between what the insurance company has paid and how much the injured party needs, then the injured party could go after you personally for the rest.

If you are an uninsured motorist, then the injured party has the right to file a lawsuit against you. All drivers in California are required to have car insurance. 

Have you been injured in an accident? Contact us today to schedule a one-on-one consultation. 

If you believe that your insurance company is not representing you adequately, give us a call to discuss. Sometimes, car insurance companies may engage in bad faith practices. If you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith, call us today.

*** Disclaimer: This page, created by Heidari Law Group, is intended for educational purposes only and provides a broad overview of legal principles. It should not be considered specific legal advice. Your use of this site and review of this material does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Heidari Law or any of its members. Laws are subject to change, and therefore some information presented here may not reflect current legal standards. All logos and images on this site are the property of their respective owners and are used only for illustrative purposes; their presence does not indicate endorsement or affiliation. Please respect the copyright restrictions of these images and logos. If you have concerns about copyright infringement or require proper attribution, contact us immediately. We are committed to honoring intellectual property rights and will respond promptly to any issues.

Sam Heidari

Free Case Evaluation 24/7

Contact Us




Rear-End Accidents


Sideswipe Accidents

$1.1 Million

Head-On Accidents

$2.0 Million

T-Bone Accidents

$1.0 Million

Single-Vehicle Accidents

Case Results

$3.3 Million

Motorcycle Accident

$2.0 Million

Car accident

$1.4 Million

Brain Injury

$1.1 Million

Motor Vehicle Accident





Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

Contact Us

24/7 Free Case Evaluation