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Can Your Driving Record Affect Your Car Accident Case?

Posted on March 11, 2024 in Car Accidents

If you get involved in a car accident in California, your driving record could impact the insurance claims process. An insurance company has the right to access your driving record, where it may find a history of accidents or moving violations that it attempts to hold against you. If you were not at fault for the crash, however, you can still recover compensation.

The At-Fault Driver Pays for a Car Accident in California

In California, the insurance system holds the person or party at fault for causing the car accident responsible for related damage, including injuries, medical bills and property repairs. To recover compensation, you or the Ontario car accident lawyer representing you will need to prove that the other driver caused the crash. 

 Proving fault for a car accident requires evidence that the other driver was negligent, or did not act in a way that a reasonably prudent driver would have. You need proof that the other driver owed you a duty of care, breached or violated this duty, caused your car accident, and that you suffered related damages. 

If you were not at fault for the collision, your car insurance company will not have to pay. Your driving record, even if it is not spotless, should not affect a claim against the at-fault driver. Unfortunately, the other driver’s car insurance company may try to avoid liability for your losses by using your driving record against you.

What to Expect From the Car Insurance Claims Process

When you file a car accident claim with another driver’s insurance company, an individual known as the insurance claims adjuster will be assigned to evaluate your case. The claims adjuster will investigate you as well as the crash before recommending to the insurance company to accept or reject your claim.  

It is important not to trust the insurance claims adjuster. A claims adjuster is trained to save the insurance company as much money as possible on claim payouts. This means even if you know you were not at fault for a car accident, the insurance company may try to avoid liability for your losses. 

How Might an Insurance Company Use Your Driving Record During a Claim?

The insurance company that receives your car accident claim will access your driving record and review your past driving behavior. If you have a history of moving violations, this could be used as evidence against you during an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. The insurer may try to establish a pattern of behavior that could contribute to liability based on past traffic violations, tickets or car accidents on your record.

If your driving record shows a history of careless or reckless driving, speeding, criminal charges, accidents or other unsafe behaviors, this could contribute to the insurance company finding you at least partially responsible for the car accident. You may need to hire an attorney to help you prove your credibility as a witness and show that your driving record has no impact on the current case.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

In California, you may receive a lower amount of financial compensation if you are found to share fault for a car accident. Under California’s comparative negligence law, a crash victim’s financial recovery will be reduced by an amount equivalent to his or her degree of fault for the accident.

For example, if an insurance company finds that you were 10 percent at fault for the car accident, your recovery would be diminished by a matching 10 percent. In this example, a $100,000 award from the other driver’s insurance company would be reduced by 10 percent ($10,000) to a total recovery of $90,000.

If you have been involved in a car accident in Los Angeles and are concerned about how your driving record might affect your claim, contact a car accident attorney at Rose, Klein & Marias LLP for assistance.