Is California a No-Fault Car Accident State? Understanding CA’s At-Fault Statute

Understanding California’s Car Insurance Laws: Explained by Our Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers

Auto insurance is required by law.  Oftentimes it is something we handle as quickly and cheaply as possible, hoping to get the cheapest rate we can.  Then we forgot about auto insurance until we have to renew it (if we do not auto-renew it) or when we are involved in a car accident.  Unfortunately, many people involved in a motor vehicle accident do not know what their insurance policies are and the extent of their coverage in the policy.  Most people do not know how to file a claim or what steps to take after a motor vehicle accident.  This is why our Los Angeles car accident lawyers find it particularly important to explain California car insurance and the difference between no-fault and at-fault statutes.

Here at the Broadway Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA, our experienced car accident lawyers know how important insurance really is for victims and their families.  We have handled many cases were insurance literally covers a family’s life-saving treatment, prevents foreclosure of a house, and helps repair or replace a damages vehicle.  Knowing the difference in insurance policies and how to make a proper claim is vital to protecting your rights under California law.  Learn how we can protect your rights to compensation during a FREE consultation by dialing 213.344.0067.  

Even if you are completely unsure of what your insurance policy is or what your coverage may be, if we accept your case we can handle these nuances for you while you focus on recovering and being with your family.  There is also no reason to worry about lawyer fees, as we only get paid a percentage of what we recover for you—and only after we recover it for you.  We pay all upfront costs for medical records, police reports, expert fees, court filing costs, and other expenses related to your lawsuit.  These costs and disbursements are also only reimbursed after we recover compensation for you.  This means there is no upfront financial cost or out-of-pocket financial risk to begin working with our experienced car accident lawyers in Los Angeles, CA.

Is California a No-Fault Insurance State?

No, California is not a no-fault insurance state.  Rather, California is an at-fault insurance state.  Learn what this means and how it can affect your claim based on your coverage or the defendant’s coverage under CA law.

What is the Minimum Auto Insurance Required in California?

Like all states, California sets the minimum requirements that all motorists must have to operate a motor vehicle on California roadways.  According to the California Department of Insurance, the minimum auto insurance required in California includes the following:

  • $15,000 for injury or death of any on person in a motor vehicle accident.
  • $30,000 total for injury or death of any number of persons in a motor vehicle accident.
  • $5,000 for personal property damage.

Motorists are freely able to purchase higher liability protection, including protection for uninsured or underinsured motorist accidents (UM/UIM).  

What are the Different Types of Auto Insurance?

There are two main types of auto insurance policies.  Each state has adopted a different scheme, with states further tweaking their jurisdiction’s laws.  Generally, the two types of auto insurance policies are “no-fault insurance” and “at-fault insurance.”

What is No-Fault Insurance?

No-fault insurance is just like it sounds.  A claim is made by a victim of a car accident to his own insurance company regardless of fault.  This is because the policy applies for the victim in all situation and fault is not an issue to submit a claim for basic compensation of medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.  Hence the name “no fault” insurance because fault does not have to be established to recover these basic benefits.

However, a victim who suffers damages that are worse that the basic benefits can commence a legal action.  This legal action often requires some threshold consideration such as the severity of an injury, the financial amount of compensation, and criteria depending on the state.  If a victim commences a lawsuit for a car accident in a no-fault state, that victim will still need to establish fault.

No-fault laws are aimed to quickly pay out insurance benefits to ensure that a victim and his or her family is able to afford medical bills, utility bills, mortgage payments, and other expenses related to an auto accident without having to establish fault which could take months or years.  The catch is that it can be harder to commence a lawsuit because of the different threshold criteria that is necessary to prove.

What is At-Fault Insurance?

In contrast to no-fault, at-fault requires a victim to submit a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.  That could be any of the parties’ insurance carriers, meaning if there are multiple defendants it could get complicated.  There are usually no barriers or lower barriers to commencing a legal action against the defendant to recover compensation.  This makes it easier to sue for a car accident in California than in a no-fault state like New York.

The largest drawback of an at-fault state is that fault needs to be established.  This means that a victim may not be able to get immediately payment if the parties or the insurance adjusters dispute who is at fault for the accident.  

As a result, at-fault states generally require intervention from a lawyer much quicker to ensure that a victim recovers compensation right away.  This is because whatever you say in reporting or filing a claim could be used against you—even by your own insurance carrier.  That means that victims in at-fault states need to have an experienced lawyer to help them from assessing liability to filing a claim—often just days or weeks after an auto accident.

Ask the Broadway Law Firm to Help Your At-Fault Insurance Claim in California 

If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a Los Angeles car accident, call the Broadway Law Firm right away.  At-fault states like California can be more difficult to quickly recover compensation for your personal injuries.  A lawyer’s help is often necessary to ensure you get the compensation that you deserve under the law.  Insurance companies will take advantage of victims trying to file a claim on their own behalf, including by using unfair or borderline unethical tricks.

Call to schedule a FREE consultation with our experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers by dialing 213.344.0067 or by using our easy-to-use contact us box available by clicking the link here.  We are here for you and your family and can immediately start to review your claim and help build your lawsuit—including even before you report your claim to insurance.  Do not try to handle this alone.  Ask us for help today.

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