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Is California a No-Fault State?

Most states in the country are considered “at-fault” or “no-fault” regarding their car insurance systems. California is considered an “at-fault” state, which means you can generally file a claim for compensation against the driver who caused your accident after a crash.

Drivers must have minimum amounts of liability insurance. No-fault insurance for medical payments is optional. Learn more about California’s car insurance rules here.

California’s At-Fault Insurance Requirements for Motor Vehicles

Drivers in California must have an acceptable form of insurance. Acceptable forms of insurance are:

  • A $35,000 surety bond 
  • A cash deposit of $35,000 with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Self-insurance certificate from the DMV
  • Liability insurance policy

Most people purchase an automobile insurance policy from an insurance company to satisfy their legal requirements. Drivers can purchase higher amounts of automobile insurance, but they must have a minimum of:

  • $15,000 in liability insurance for bodily injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 in liability insurance for bodily injury or death to more than one person
  • $5,000 in property damage coverage 

Liability insurance does not pay you for medical bills or other losses. Instead, your liability policy covers losses for accident victims when you cause a car accident

How Does an At-Fault Insurance Claim Work for a Los Angeles Car Accident? 

When you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, the company investigates your claim. The company may pay the claim if the company agrees that the insured is responsible for causing the car accident.

However, even when an insurance company agrees to pay a claim, it is wise to talk with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer before you sign a settlement agreement. 

Insurance companies routinely undervalue claims to save money. Therefore, your car accident claim could be worth more than the insurance company offers. Signing a settlement agreement gives up your right to file a claim in a court of law.

How Do You Prove a Car Accident Claim in an At-Fault State?

Accident victims have the burden of proof in a personal injury case. In an at-fault state, the victim must prove the legal elements to establish liability for damages. 

Most car accidents are based on negligence claims. The legal elements of a negligence claim are:

  • Duty – Another party owed you a legal duty of care 
  • Breach of Duty – The party’s actions constituted a breach of duty
  • Causation – The breach of duty caused your injury 
  • Damages – You sustained damages because of the breach of duty

The burden of proof in a personal injury case is by a preponderance of the evidence. The jurors must believe there is more than a 50% chance that the other driver caused the car crash based on the evidence you present to find the other driver liable for your damages.

Reasons for car accidents in Los Angeles include:

  • Failing to follow traffic laws
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Tailgating 
  • Drugged driving
  • Fatigued and drowsy driving

Other factors can cause a car accident. For example, suppose a defective tire caused a blowout that led to a car crash. If so, the tire manufacturer could be liable for damages in a product liability claim. 

A Los Angeles car accident lawyer investigates the car accident to determine causation and fault. The attorney also identifies all parties who contributed to the cause of the accidents and pursues claims against each liable party to maximize recovery for damages.

What Types of Damages Can I Receive for an At-Fault Car Accident Claim in California?

In an at-fault state like California, car accident victims can seek compensation for their economic damages. These damages represent the monetary losses the person incurred because of the car wreck. They can also receive compensation for non-economic damages or “pain and suffering” damages.

Examples of damages in a car accident case include:

  • Out-of-pocket expenses 
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Mental anguish
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Decrease in earning capacity
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Impairments and disabilities 

The value of your damages depends on many factors. For example, if you were partially to blame for causing the accident, your compensation could be reduced. California’s pure contributory fault law reduces your compensation by your percentage of fault. 

Your actions after the accident also impact how much your case is worth. Seeking legal advice promptly can help you avoid errors that could hurt your chance of receiving the money you deserve for your car accident claim. 

How Long Do I Have To File an At-Fault Car Accident Lawsuit in California?

Most personal injury lawsuits have a two-year statute of limitations in California. The time begins on the date of the car accident. If you do not file a lawsuit before the deadline, the court may dismiss your lawsuit.

Exceptions could alter the deadline to file a car accident claim. Therefore, it is best to talk with a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible after an accident. 

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA

If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.

M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers – Los Angeles Office
4929 Wilshire Blvd Suite 960,
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(855) 599-2987

M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Office
350 S Figueroa St Suite 276
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(877) 751-8953

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