Factors That Determine The Viability Of An Auto-Accident Case
Interviewer: What are some of the factors you’ve seen that makes a viable case’s risks worth it? You know, you probably can work on?
Richard Sailer: The number one thing that we need to look at is their liability; is there a responsible party? If there is not a responsible party who’s liable for the loss, and there’s really nowhere to go with it. Number 1, look at the liability. Number 2, we would look at how the accident happened; what the damages were to the vehicle; is there factual evidence to support an injury claim.
A Common Situation with Auto Accident is that there are No Witnesses and there are Two People that are Accusing Each Other
Interviewer: Well how can no one be at fault? Isn’t there always someone at fault in an accident?
Richard Sailer: Sometimes we get calls and the person who’s calling is the one who caused the accident! Sometimes they don’t realize that they caused the accident – sometimes there is a dispute as to liability that can’t be proven. A common situation with auto accident would be you’ve got no witnesses and you’ve got two people that are both claiming that they had the green light, with no independent witnesses. Then it becomes a situation where it’s basically a liar’s contest for lack of a better word – and sometimes in those situations it’s impossible to prove who was right and who was wrong.
There is a Concept of Comparative Liability in the State of California
Interviewer: Is California a shared Liability state or what happens? Is it always someone’s fault or is it shared?
Richard Sailer: There’s a concept of comparative liability, so say for instance, that usually – in auto accidents not so much because usually somebody’s at fault; somebody had to violate a vehicle code or committed a negligent act to cause an accident. But often times in, say a lip-and-fall situation – maybe in a retail establishment – comparative negligence sometimes comes into play, where the insurance company or the defendant will argue that the client was comparatively negligent for the accident; for instance they should’ve seen a pill on the floor, they should have worn better shoes, or they should have watched where they were walking; then they will argue that the victim is proportionally responsible for the loss. In California you can recover as long as there is some responsibility on the defendant; even if it be ten percent you can still recover ten percent of your damages. The award would just be opposite by percentage of fault.
Different Police Departments Have Different Jurisdictions and Different Policies
Interviewer: What happens at an accident; do the police always come? Or is it – people handle it on their own? What do you see happens?
Richard Sailer: I think the key question there is, what jurisdiction did the accident happen in? We find that different police departments have different policies. Typically they will respond and they will take a report. What we see more often than not – there were a lot of times, jurisdictionally some police departments are overwhelmed and don’t have time to be taking accident reports that don’t have major injuries at the scene of the accident. Often times what the police will say is, ‘if you don’t want an ambulance then I’m not going to bother taking a report’. So it’s on a case by case basis and a department by department basis.
A Police Officer Cannot Be Forced To Report A Particular Accident
Interviewer: Can you demand that the police make a report or no?
Richard Sailer: I get those calls sometimes; few people are at the scene of the accident and the police are refusing to take a report, and they call for advice at that juncture. What I typically advise them is that there’s no way they can force the officer to make a report but they can get the instant number to prove that the officer was dispatched, and that way we can later verify that at least the accident occurred and at least that the officer responded to the scene, and that we can later document the fact that it did happen however the officer refused to take a report. At least then we’ve got a basis upon which, that the accident occurred.