car accident

What Do I Have to Prove to Win My Car Accident Lawsuit?

profile photo
By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

If you got hurt in a car accident that was someone else’s fault and the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to pay a fair settlement, you might have to file a lawsuit to protect your right to compensation for your losses. The insurer will assign defense lawyers who will try to keep you from getting the money you deserve.

A California car accident attorney can fight your battles for you and handle the litigation so that you can focus on getting better. Here are the four things that you will have to prove to win your car accident lawsuit:

Duty of Care

Before you can establish the defendant’s liability, you must show that he owed you a duty of care. It is usually a simple matter to prove that the at-fault driver owed you a legal duty because everyone who operates a motor vehicle on public streets has a responsibility to drive with caution and obey the traffic laws.

Breach of Duty

When a person’s conduct fails to measure up to a legal duty of care, it is negligence. For example, driving while impaired by alcohol breaches the duty of care because it violates the traffic laws. An individual who drives drunk is negligent.


The negligence must be the thing that caused or contributed to the collision that harmed you. If some other careless conduct, like a different driver running a red light and crashing into you, caused the wreck, the drunk driver is unlikely to be liable to you. 

Let’s say, however, that the drunk driver ran into you because his alcohol impairment caused him to be unable to react in time to avoid hitting your car. In this situation, negligence caused the accident.

Quantifiable Losses

You must have measurable damages to be eligible to go after the liable party for compensation. Physical injury satisfies this requirement. 

When we can prove all four of these factors, we can pursue a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Damages Available in Car Accident Injury Cases

The compensation you can go after for getting hurt in a collision will depend on the specific facts of your situation. Every personal injury case is different. Here are some of the common types of money damages in successful car accident injury cases:

  • Medical expenses. The reasonable cost of the medical treatment you needed for your injuries is usually recoverable. The ambulance, emergency room, doctors, diagnostic procedures, imaging studies like x-rays, surgery, physical therapy, and pain management are some examples of medical expenses in personal injury claims.
  • Lost wages. If you missed paychecks while out recuperating from your injuries, that financial loss can be a part of your case.
  • Loss of future earning capacity. Sometimes people have to reduce their working hours or take a lower-paying job because of ongoing problems after a significant injury. Chronic pain, weakness, or loss of function could be the basis for this loss.
  • Future medical costs. You should include the estimated expenses for future medical intervention that your doctor thinks you will need for your injuries. For example, you might need additional skin grafts or other operations down the road.
  • Pain and suffering. This category encompasses the physical discomfort and emotional distress you endured because of your injuries.
  • Other intangible losses. Things like disfigurement from scars, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and loss of enjoyment of life can get included in your car accident injury lawsuit.

A California personal injury attorney can take on the defendant’s insurance defense lawyers can fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consult.

author photo
About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.