You need to be familiar with the laws governing car accidents in the state you were involved in. These laws will impact how you handle insurance claims and who is responsible for your losses and injuries. There are two types of car insurance: fault and no-fault. California is a fault-based state, but not one that is no-fault.
What is a “No Fault” Accident?
No-fault accidents are something you’d find in an insurance state that doesn’t have any fault. This means that all the drivers involved in a wreck will be eligible for financial benefits from their insurance companies, regardless of fault. These drivers do not need to prove the negligence or fault of another driver to be eligible for insurance coverage.
California is not a state that accepts no-fault drivers. This means that injured victims must file car accident lawsuits with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They must also identify the driver responsible for the accident and prove their guilt during the insurance process. This could make it harder to get insurance benefits.
Car insurance: No-Fault vs. At-Fault
There are 12 states currently that have a no-fault insurance policy. All drivers in no-fault states that are involved in an automobile accident must have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Florida is an example of a state that requires all drivers to show proof of PIP insurance.
All injured persons will file claims against their auto insurance companies after a car accident in a state that isn’t at fault. PIP insurance will cover their medical expenses as well as lost wages. For property damage coverage, however, drivers will need additional insurance such as collision or comprehensive.
Drivers in no-fault states cannot seek compensation from the at-fault driver unless their injuries are severe enough to meet the state’s threshold for serious injury. This usually means that the driver sustained severe and/or permanent injuries. States with at-fault car insurance laws require drivers to have minimum amounts of bodily injuries and property damage liability insurance to cover other victims’ damages.
California Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
California’s minimum insurance requirements are $15,000 per individual and $30,000 per incident in bodily injury liability insurance. $5,000 is required for property damage insurance. A driver who is injured in an accident can make another driver financially liable, regardless of the severity or extent of their injuries.
What to do if you’re involved in an accident in California
California’s fault-based insurance law will govern your ability to recover financial damages from the responsible driver if you are involved in a car accident. These steps will help you maximize your chances of winning a claim.
- Contact the police right away from the scene. A police accident report can help strengthen your insurance claim.
- Collect evidence. Photograph the accident scene and collect any other evidence you can. Your lawyer or you will need to prove that the other driver caused your collision.
- You should immediately visit a hospital. Don’t delay in getting medical attention. This could give insurance companies a reason not to pay your claim.
- Contact your insurance company. To make an initial report about the accident, call your auto insurance company immediately. Don’t admit to fault.
- Contact the insurance company of the other driver. You can also file a claim with the insurance company of the other driver. Each insurance company will examine the accident to determine who is at fault.
After you have reported the collision, a representative from the insurance company for the other driver will reach out to you. You should be careful about what you say as they may not be sympathetic to your cause. All documents should be provided to the investigator. Do not sign anything or agree to any settlement without speaking with an attorney.
Los Angeles car accident lawyer for help with the claims process. An attorney can help you protect your rights and negotiate a fair settlement for your case.