Fault is an important factor in an auto accident when deciding payment for damages. In general, the person who causes the accident is the one responsible for damages and expenses resulting from it.
FindLaw explains that in California, fault is a consideration under the law, and you must prove fault of the other party to make a successful claim.
While fault is important, you should note that California is a pure comparative negligence state. What this means is that the court will assign both parties in an accident a percentage of fault.
You can only collect damages for the percentage you are not at fault. For example, if the court awards $1,000 in damages and finds you 10% at fault, then you can only collect 90% of the damages or $900.
Because of the concept of pure comparative negligence, it is essential that you build a solid case to prove the other party is at fault while also showing you hold no liability in the situation. It is possible for the court not to assign you any fault, but regardless, you want the lowest percentage you can get.
One important factor to note is that in any auto accident situation if you do not have valid auto insurance, then the law says that you cannot collect any non-economic damages. Non-economic damages would be pain and suffering or any expenses that do not have a direct and provable monetary value. Emotional or psychological damages are part of the non-economic claims you will be unable to make.