Is California an ‘At-Fault’ State for Motor Vehicle Accidents?
There are 12 states across the US that have ‘no fault’ insurance laws when it comes to car accidents. These include Florida, Utah, and more. California is an ‘at-fault’ state when it comes to car accidents and their associated personal injury claims.
Under the at-fault legal system in California, the at-fault parties responsible for causing the motor vehicle collision are also to be held responsible for providing financial compensation to any injured parties involved in the car crash.
To better understand your vulnerability to liability in a car accident case, it is highly recommended that you contact experienced car accident attorneys to discuss your case. At our law firm, we have years of experience dedicated to personal injury claims, including difficult car accident cases. To learn more about our legal services and our past track record of success, please contact our Rosemead, California-based Law Offices to schedule your free case review.
What is ‘Comparative Negligence’ and How Does it Relate to Your Car Accident Case?
There are different types of ‘comparative negligence.’ California operates by the pure comparative negligence understanding of the law. In California, even if you were 99% at fault, you can still hope to recover some portion of compensation for your injuries and other losses.
It is highly likely, though not universal, that multiple parties may hold some liability in the cause of California car collisions. The determination of fault will be based upon the evidence and decided by the California judge overseeing your car accident case.
How is Liability Determined in California Car Accidents?
In order to acquire financial recovery in a California car accident case, it is necessary to prove fault (also referred to as negligence) on the part of the other driver(s) or other entities involved in the crash. You and your car accident lawyers must prove negligence to the proper insurance company, jury, and/or judge involved in your car accident claim.
Failure to show fault or negligence rests on the shoulders of the other parties may result in an inability to recover compensation for your personal injury claim.
Your evidence must prove the following:
- The parties involved in the accident owed a duty to operate their motor vehicles safely in order to minimize the risk of harm befalling themselves or others they share the roadways with.
- The at-fault party breached this duty by engaging in negligent or reckless behavior behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
- As a result of this breach, you suffered injuries or other damages.
- As a result of these injuries and losses, you suffered damages that could be repaid with a financial settlement offer.
Who Has Liability if the Crashed Car Was Operated by Someone Other Than the Car’s Owner?
What happens when someone borrows your car and then gets in a car wreck in California? If the non-owner driver borrowed the motor vehicle with the permission of the vehicle’s owner, the car owner may share some of the liability in the accident. This part of at-fault California car accident laws is known as permissive use.
Under the permissive use understanding of the law, car owners may be held responsible for up to $15,000 in damages if their borrowed car injures an individual. If the car accident injured more than one person, the owner may be responsible for up to $30,000 in damages.
This may seem unfair to car owners in California. To fight claims of liability, it is wise to retain professional legal representation.
How Might California’s At-Fault Car Accident Policies Affect Your Insurance Claim?
A minimum amount of liability car insurance is required of all California drivers — this allows car accident victims to collect damages.
The current minimum coverage is the following:
- $15,000 for the personal injury or wrongful death of one person in an auto accident.
- $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in a Motor vehicle accident.
- And $5,000 for property damage.
When a car accident occurs in California, the injured parties will seek compensation from the faulty drivers’ insurance companies. Auto insurance can cover economic damages such as property damages, past medical bills, future medical expenses, and lost wages. However, there exists a possibility that a personal injury claim may demand damages that exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. In such cases, it may be necessary for the injured parties to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or others who may have been liable for damages in the accident.
What Evidence May Prove Valuable in Car Accident Cases?
The following evidence may prove useful in your car accident case:
- Bills, receipts, and other relevant documentation that show your paid medical expenses, lost income, vehicle repairs, and other costs.
- Eyewitness testimonies of those who witnessed the motor vehicle collision.
- Medical records and statements from the doctors who treated your injuries. Also, think about including medical records of your health prior to the car accident injuries.
- Photos and videos of the car accident scene.
- Photos and videos of your injuries sustained in the accident.
- The testimony of experts in the field of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, and medicine who have evaluated your car accident case.
What is the Statute of Limitations for California Personal Injury Claims?
There is a strict deadline for filing car accident claims in California. Car accident victims have up to two years from the date of the collision to file a personal injury suit.
Failure to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations could result in your claim being dismissed and you lose the right to recover financial compensation. Do not delay; contact a personal injury lawyer today.
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation Today
The Law Office of Daniel Deng has extensive experience representing personal injury cases, including car accident cases with complex liability legal issues. We would be proud to represent your legal rights as you pursue the justice you deserve and look to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries. You may contact us at 626-280-6000