Is California a No-Fault State for Car Accidents

Understandably, injured victims in a car accident want to know how to recover compensation after a car accident. Prospective clients come to us with numerous questions, including, Is California a no-fault state for car accidents?

Unlike some other states, California is not a no-fault state. You can sue third parties for causing your injuries and property damage. If you need assistance after a car accident, contact a San Francisco car accident lawyer today. 

How No-Fault Laws Work

If you are involved in a car accident in a no-fault state, you must make a claim through your own policy. No-fault states offer personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Your PIP policy will reimburse your medical expenses, regardless of who caused the accident. There is no fighting, negotiating, and submitting documentation to prove who was at fault. 

No-fault states handle property damage differently. You might need to open a claim under your collision coverage if you added it to your policy. Another state might require you to file a claim for property damage with the other driver’s property damage liability coverage. 

One major downside with a no-fault state is that you typically cannot pursue non-economic damages against the other party. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering.

A limited number of no-fault states will allow injured parties to pursue a claim against the at-fault party only if their injury expenses exceed a certain dollar amount or their injuries are included on the state’s list of “catastrophic” injuries. 

Some arguments against no-fault laws point out that PIP coverage is redundant and expensive, especially since most drivers already have their own health insurance. 

How At-Fault Laws Work 

When you are injured in a car accident in an at-fault state, you can file a claim against the responsible party. Before you can recover any compensation, you must prove fault against that party. If you are successful, you could receive reimbursement for your medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages.  

Responsibility of California Drivers 

California laws require you to carry liability insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements. Currently, liability limits in California are: 

  • $15,000 coverage for bodily injury or death to one person;
  • $30,000 coverage for bodily injury or death per accident; and
  • $5,000 coverage for property damage.

You also have the option to add uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to your policy. Uninsured motorist coverage could pay for your damages when an uninsured motorist hits you. Underinsured motorist coverage would apply in accidents where the at-fault party didn’t have high enough policy limits to cover all your damages. 

California’s Pure Comparative Negligence 

To collect damages in an accident, you must prove liability. However, that doesn’t mean that person needs to be 100% at fault. California follows the pure comparative negligence model for personal injury claims. That means you can collect compensation for your injuries and other damages even when you are partially at fault.

However, the amount you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 20% at fault, you will receive only 80% of your damages. If you are 75% at fault, you will receive 25% of your damages.

Contact a Skilled San Francisco Car Accident Lawyer

Proving liability against the other driver is one of the most critical factors in a California auto accident. You could lose out on valuable compensation depending on the percentage of liability assigned to you. Working with a skilled San Francisco car accident lawyer can help you recover the maximum amount of compensation possible. 

With nearly two decades of experience, our legal team has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for California car accident victims. We provide expert legal services in all personal injury matters, and our passion is helping clients get their lives back on track. 

If you were injured in an auto accident in California, contact the Wakeford Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation. Let us protect your rights and help you hold the other party accountable for your injuries. 

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