Is California a No-Fault State?
In California, car accidents are governed by tort law, which means you can file a claim against the negligent party.
Every state has different rules regarding how car accidents and insurance disputes are resolved. California follows no-fault laws, meaning the driver that caused the accident is responsible for paying damages. Damages is a legal term referring to the injuries and other losses accident victims sustain during an accident. Under tort law, you must prove another person was to blame, as well as the value of your losses.
No-Fault vs. Tort Law Following a Crash
Knowing the difference between no-fault and tort law after an accident can help you determine how much insurance coverage you need, as well as what you can expect if your case goes to court.
Under no-fault laws, drivers must purchase personal injury protection (PIP) benefits from their insurance company. If there is an accident, the driver must then file a claim with their own insurer to claim the benefits they need to cover the cost of their injury. Drivers cannot usually file a claim against the negligent party, unless they meet a serious injury threshold outlined in state law.
California is not governed by no-fault auto insurance law. Instead, tort law governs crashes in the state. Under tort law, drivers must file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company after an accident. Under the state’s minimum auto insurance requirements, drivers must purchase:
- $5,000 in property damage coverage
- $15,000 in bodily injury or death of one individual
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death for the entire accident
When Multiple People are at Fault for a Crash
Sometimes, multiple drivers are responsible for causing a car accident. This can make claiming damages more difficult after a crash. California is governed by a pure comparative fault model, which means even if a driver is 99% at fault for an accident, they can still file a claim for 1% of their damages.
The comparative fault law makes it easier for you if you contributed to a crash. However, it can also make the aftermath of an accident more difficult. When multiple drivers are involved, it also means multiple insurance companies are involved. Insurers often try to shift blame to each other to shield themselves from liability. If the insurer is not found fully liable for paying damages, they get to keep more of their profits and further protect their bottom line.
This is one reason it is so important to work with a lawyer who can negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. A lawyer will know the tactics insurers use to avoid liability, and how to overcome them so you claim the full compensation to which you are entitled.
Call Our Car Accident Lawyer in Murrieta for a Free Consultation
If you have been hurt in a crash, our Murrieta car accident lawyer at Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP can help. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and we are not afraid to go up against the big insurance companies so you claim the full financial compensation you deserve. Call us today at 951-291-9814 or contact us online to request a free consultation.