Causation and Fault: Car Accidents

Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve recently been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering about what the legal response to your situation will entail. After all, your time and energy may be more precious than ever right now and you’re likely apprehensive about how much attention your legal situation will require.

You’ll likely get a stronger sense of how your unique legal case will progress once you attend a risk-free case evaluation session with a local attorney. As no two car accident cases ever unfold under exactly the same circumstances, it isn’t easy to say how any individual’s situation will progress until the details of that situation have been assessed both thoroughly and objectively.

With that said, there are some “rules of thumb” that you can use to get a broad sense of how you’ll be able to get a better handle on what comes next. These rules of thumb apply to two of the three the most consequential aspects of a personal injury case: fault and causation. The third of these most consequential realities is the value of an injury victim’s case. However, this value cannot be assessed until causation and fault have been accurately addressed in turn.


As a knowledgeable car accident attorney – including those who practice at Yearin Law Office – can confirm, it is rarely easy to confirm the cause(s) of a crash at a glance. While it may certainly be possible to develop reasonable suspicions as to what occurred simply by surveying the accident scene – which is a significant part of what law enforcement officers do when they prepare accident reports – the underlying cause(s) of a crash must be thoroughly investigated by professionals before causation can be determined accurately.

Oftentimes, invisible influences play a role in crashes and these contributing factors generally can’t be identified at a glance. For example, whether those involved were intoxicated, particularly angry, exhausted, etc. can’t be determined at a glance. Additionally, problems with the electrical systems of the vehicles involved, the pressure of each vehicle’s tires, etc. needs to be investigated instead of taken for granted.

Common car accident causes include drowsy driving, distracted driving, impaired driving, aggressive driving, poor road conditions, and defective auto parts. Only after a lawyer knows “why” a crash happened can they accurately determine who may be held responsible for harm resulting from that collision.


Generally speaking, a person, business, or other entity may be held legally and financially liable for causing harm if their actions or inactions negligently, recklessly, or intentionally caused another’s harm. But their liability may be reduced if the injury victim was also partially to blame for their circumstances.

For example, if a victim’s harm is valued at $1 million and they are assigned 10 percent of the fault for their crash, they’ll only be able to pursue $90,000 from other responsible parties. This fault-related restriction on the value of a case is known as comparative negligence in states like Arizona and California.