Does Fault Matter for California Car Accidents?

Does Fault Matter for California Car Accidents?

June 3, 2022 Off By Glespynorson

Fault? No fault? What does it all mean?  Well, in every accident, someone is determined to be the cause of the crash or the “at-fault” person. However, not every state factors in who is at fault in car accidents the same. Some states are called “no-fault” states and some are called “fault” states. The difference is how automobile insurance policies are treated.

In no-fault states, each party first looks to their own automobile insurance companies for the payment of medical bills, wage loss and other damages. Also, the injured victim can still go after the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation in no-fault states.

The state of California is a fault state. This means that with every car accident, it is determined who caused the crash, then that person’s automobile insurance company pays for all of the injured victim’s damages, up to their policy limits. These damages will include the following:

  • Past lost wages
  • Future lost wages and lost earning capacity
  • Bills for past medical treatment
  • The present-day value to future necessary medical treatment
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Punitive damages (in rare cases)

Sometimes, these cases can be very complicated, and dealing with the insurance company and insurance adjuster can be difficult. That’s why it’s best to hire an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles to help you with your case.

With a skilled Los Angeles car accident lawyer on your side, your chances of getting full and fair compensation for your injuries increase significantly.

How Much Automobile Insurance Do California Drivers Need to Have?

The law in California sets the minimum amount of insurance that every driver should have on their vehicle. These insurance minimum policies are supposed to cover the other driver when someone is negligent and causes a crash.

The minimum policies are supposed to cover both property damage and liability damage for physical injuries suffered by other victims. These minimums are:

  • $5,000 coverage for property damage
  • $15,000 coverage for bodily injuries or death of one individual
  • $30,000 coverage for bodily injuries or death of one incident

As you can see, the minimum insurance coverage required by law isn’t that much, especially when the negligent driver seriously injures someone. Many drivers carry higher insurance minimums, but this is the lowest amount required by law.

The Importance of Uninsured and Under-Insured

Because of the very low minimums for liability coverage in California, many drivers carry uninsured (UM) or under-insured coverage (UIM) on their own auto policy.

Uninsured policies kick in when you are hit and injured by another driver who has no insurance on their vehicle. Although this is illegal, there are many uninsured drivers on the roads of California. Uninsured coverage allows you to use your own insurance policy to recover compensation as if the at-fault driver had liability insurance.

Under-insured coverage kicks in when the at-fault driver has liability insurance coverage, but it’s not enough to cover the serious personal injuries that happened in the crash.

For instance, say the at-fault driver had the minimum liability coverage for California of $15,000, but your injuries were worth $50,000. If you had purchased under-insured coverage, you could look to your own UIM policy to make up the difference. So you would get the at-fault driver’s $15,000 coverage and the rest would be provided from your own policy.

It’s important to discuss what insurance policy coverages are available with an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles.

What to Do If You’re Involved in a Los Angeles Car Accident

If you’ve been involved in a Los Angeles car crash, there are many important steps that you should focus on. These steps will protect you and help you recover from your injuries and help with any future lawsuit or settlement to get compensation for your injuries.

If you’ve been in an accident, you should:

  1. Call 911 to get the police to the scene, as well as, ambulance
  2. Collect all witnesses contact information so you can contact them later to get recorded statements
  3. Collect contact information and insurance information from all other drivers
  4. Take photographs of the scene of the crash, including the general area, and detailed pictures of the damage to the vehicles
  5. Go to the emergency department right away
  6. Don’t assume your injuries will get better on their own
  7. Follow up with your doctor’s treatment plan and do everything they tell you to do
  8. Don’t speak to anyone about the accident except your lawyer
  9. Don’t give any recorded interviews to anyone without your lawyer present — even recorded interviews with your own insurance company
  10. Keep a daily diary of your physical and mental condition so you can refer back to it later at trial, if necessary
  11. Immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles

Doing all of these things will ensure that a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles will be able to fight for your rights to make sure you get the best compensation for your injuries. Looking for a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles? contact Karns And Karns for a free consultation. No Fee Unless You Win.