California is technically not a no-fault state. While a wounded motorist can still submit a claim with the other driver’s insurance company and that claim must be paid, the story does not end there. According to Los Angeles car accident attorneys, drivers in California still have the right to claim additional damages. To understand why California is not a no-fault state let’s see the meaning of a no-fault state.
What is a No-fault State?
The approach looks a little different in a no-fault state. Rather than requiring the identification of a responsible party, each accident victim will make a claim with their own insurance company. In the preceding scenario, for example, teenager 1, teenager 2, and teenager 3 would all submit claims with their respective insurance companies, even though teenager 1 was plainly at fault. In these cases, there is frequently less legal participation and a faster process, but greater responsibility is placed on people who were not at fault. Auto insurance prices are higher in several no-fault states. This is due to the fact that your insurance company will have to pay regardless of the cause of your accident; your good driving record does not guarantee that the company will not have to pay due to someone else’s bad driving.
What Are the No-Fault Law Requirements?
No-fault rules compel drivers to carry both personal injury and liability insurance as part of their auto insurance coverage.
California state drivers would have simpler access to health insurance following a car accident if they were required to carry no-fault insurance since their medical expenses would be immediately compensated by their own personal injury protection insurance.
This benefit would be provided at no expense to the other driver, but it would raise the overall cost of vehicle insurance coverage.
In California, each state insurance company normally pays for losses caused by an accident based on the degree of fault assigned to each driver.
The person who caused the accident must compensate the person who was hurt. The wounded person frequently disagrees with the amount offered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
In that instance, drivers in the state of California can sue the at-fault driver for additional compensation.
What Happens to My Insurance in the Event of a Car Accident in California?
Car insurance prices in California are cheaper than in some other states since the guilty party in an accident must be identified. However, this does not preclude protracted and costly legal fights in the event of an accident. Because fault must be shown, it is to your best advantage to employ an attorney to handle any problematic legalities that may arise during the course of the case. Insurance companies are rarely friendly to people who state claims when they are at fault, and they frequently try to avoid paying. A skilled personal injury attorney can file a strong insurance claim, ensuring that your case against the insurance company gets off to a good start.
In rare circumstances, the at-fault party lacks sufficient insurance coverage to cover all expenses. In these cases, having an attorney who will fight for you is critical. Assume you are injured in an accident and the at-fault party’s insurance does not cover all of your bills. In that instance, your attorney will file a personal injury claim with the insurance company to ensure that you do not have to pay your expenditures out of pocket.
What to Do If You’re in a California Car Accident
If you are involved in an automobile accident in the state of California, you will have to navigate the state’s at-fault insurance law in order to obtain financial compensation from the at-fault motorist. Take the following actions to increase your chances of a successful claim:
- Call the police from the accident scene. A police accident report can help with your insurance claim.
- Collect evidence. Take photographs and gather additional evidence if feasible while still at the scene of the accident. You or your attorney will need to demonstrate that the other driver was at fault for your crash.
- Go to the hospital right away. Do not put off obtaining medical care because doing so may offer an insurance company a justification to refuse your claim.
- Contact your personal insurance provider. Call your motor insurance company right soon to file an initial accident report. You must not acknowledge fault.
- Call the insurance company for the other motorist. In addition, file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Both insurance companies will conduct an investigation into the accident to determine who was at fault.
After you report the collision, a representative from the other driver’s insurance company will contact you. Be careful what you say, because he or she will not support you. Provide all necessary papers to assist the investigation. However, before signing anything or agreeing to a settlement, consult with an attorney.
California Drivers’ Responsibilities
Liability insurance that fulfills the state’s minimum criteria is required by California law. In California, the current liability limits are:
- $15,000 in coverage for one person’s bodily harm or death;
- $30,000 in bodily injury or death coverage per accident; and
- Property damage coverage of $5,000.
You can also add uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to your policy. When an uninsured motorist hits you, your uninsured motorist policy may pay for your damages. Underinsured motorist coverage would apply in cases where the at-fault party’s policy limits were insufficient to pay all of your damages.
Difference Between an At-fault State and a No-fault State
In an at-fault state, each party and their individual insurance company pay for the harm in proportion to their level of fault. The individual responsible for an accident is held liable for all damages to everyone who is hurt, up to the limits of their insurance policy. In other words, if you were in an accident that was not your fault, the at-fault party will be held liable for your personal injuries and property damage.
No-fault states compel all drivers, regardless of fault, to carry their own insurance to cover their injuries. As part of their laws, several states mandate drivers to obtain “personal injury protection” (PIP). As a result, if you were involved in an accident that was not your fault, your insurance will be compelled to pay for your personal injuries and property damage in no-fault jurisdictions. You may sue the at-fault party only under particular conditions related to the severity of your injuries and impairments.
California is an at-fault state. As a result, if you were in an accident in California, your first call should be to a personal injury attorney, not the insurance companies.
How Do I Prove Fault After a Car Accident
The majority of car accident lawsuits include negligence. To establish negligence, you must show:
- The other motorist had a duty of care to you.
- This duty of care was broken by the driver.
- Your injuries were caused by the violation, and
- You were harmed physically.
While this may appear to be a straightforward analysis, auto negligence claims can quickly become difficult.
Insurance companies exist to make a profit. As a result, they are continually looking for grounds to deny fault vehicle insurance claims and reduce their prices. For example, the at-fault vehicle insurance company may dismiss your claim if:
- Evidence indicating that you have previous injuries,
- A factual disagreement over who caused the catastrophe, or
- Disagreement over the scope of your losses.
If your insurance company refuses your claim or gives you the runaround, contact a fault auto insurance attorney right away.
Who Else Is Capable of Determining Fault?
A police report may be relied on to be accurate most of the time, but they do make mistakes. This is particularly often when you are unable to speak for yourself at the time of the accident, such as if you have already been transferred to a hospital. The same holds true if the victim (for example, a member of your family) dies at the scene. In that circumstance, the authorities have limited information, and people, unfortunately, lie to protect themselves.
While the police report is significant, the officer was not present at the time of the collision and only witnessed the aftermath. Their word does not immediately become law. If you believe the police report is inaccurate, hire a professional law firm with its own investigators who will rebuild the accident site and interview witnesses, police, and EMTs. If their investigators discover that the police were incorrect, they will go to war with the at-fault driver’s insurance company — in court, if necessary.
What Might Constitute My Negligence?
The following are the most prevalent allegations of negligence:
- Driving aggressively.
- Violation of traffic laws.
- Driving when distracted.
- Poor vehicle upkeep.
Some insurance companies may even blame external circumstances instead of admitting fault. Common “outside” accusations include faulty auto parts (the fault of whoever sold the other driver’s automobile) and bad roads (the fault of the government).
Can I Get Compensation If I’m Partly At-fault?
Yes, but it will be less than it would be if you were proved absolutely blameless. Investigators assign partial fault more frequently than you may expect, particularly in accidents involving three or more vehicles. But don’t give up hope of receiving reimbursement. However, keep in mind that they may also seek a payment from your insurance company.
How can I Prove That The Other Driver Was At-fault?
The smallest facts can make or break an automobile accident case. It is best to capture the occurrences of that day in any way feasible. The following factors can aid in establishing liability:
#1. Call the Police and Report The Accident
Call the police after any car collision. The officer who responds will create an accident report that includes essential information such as:
- The accident’s date and time
- Climate conditions
- Highway conditions
- Contact and insurance information for all parties
- Accounts of the crash from both drivers
- Witness statements and contact information
- Property damage explanations
- Accident explanations
- Infractions on the road
In many circumstances, the officer will also identify whether someone broke traffic regulations or committed any other crimes in the report. For example, the police may notice that one of the drivers smelled of alcohol or that an open container was discovered in a vehicle. In this case, police may indicate that field sobriety tests were done or that the individual was sent for blood tests to ascertain whether he or she was driving while intoxicated.
If penalties were issued, anyone was arrested, or the officer believed one of the drivers acted carelessly, this information would be included in the accident report. All of this data might be utilized to strengthen a case and determine who was at fault for the crash. Make sure to seek a copy of the report, which is usually available at the police station a few days after the accident.
#2. Note where the vehicles are damaged
The location of the damage on a vehicle might be crucial evidence in determining how the accident occurred. For example, if a vehicle is struck while waiting to make a left turn, the driver’s side will be damaged. The vehicle that collided will sustain front-end damage. In most cases, the driver who made the left turn would be held accountable. This is due to the fact that they are required by law to yield to incoming traffic, which has the right of way. Exceptions could be made if the car that collided with the turning vehicle was speeding or ran a red light.
#3. Photograph the accident scene
A picture is worth a thousand words, and they can be extremely useful in establishing fault in a car accident. Take images of both vehicles and their damage before they are destroyed or washed away. Shots should be taken from several perspectives to ensure that nothing important is missed. Take pictures of the vehicle’s license plate as well as any other debris around it, such as falling bumpers. Take pictures of the insides of the vehicles as well. Photograph any broken equipment, shattered glass, deployed airbags, or blood stains up close. Take pictures of the weather and odd road conditions, such as potholes, as well as tire marks and other property damage other than the automobiles. Finally, take pictures of any injuries. All of these photographs can contribute to a clearer understanding of what happened and who is to blame.
#4. Apply for cellphone records
Many car accidents are caused by distracted driving, which is defined as participating in any activity that pulls a driver’s attention away from the road. Many collisions have occurred as a result of texting, making a phone call, or looking at content on a smartphone. If your accident occurred as a result of a motorist using a phone while driving, the person’s phone carrier may be able to offer logs of his/her use.
Unfortunately, even if the person was involved in an automobile accident, a wireless provider cannot send over records to a private consumer. An attorney, on the other hand, can collect this information, which may aid in proving culpability.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Assit You
A vehicle accident attorney can assist you in gathering evidence to support your claim and boost your chances of recovering damages.
- Proof of financial responsibility: According to California law, drivers must have enough accident coverage at all times. Your attorney can analyze your current insurance conditions and advise you on the best course of action for claiming reimbursement.
- Police Report: While the police record is vital in your case, it may not always be enough to clear you of any fault for the accident. Your attorney can recommend additional techniques for gathering evidence in your favor.
- Footage, photographs, and eyewitness testimony: This type of proof can greatly help your case.
- Obtaining reimbursement: Whether you are seeking compensation from your insurance company or the other party, your attorney can advise you on the best method to maximize your recovery.