If a negligent motorist leaves you injured in a car accident, you will file your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. But the circumstances of your claim will determine which policy pays for what.
If you find yourself in this difficult position, don’t put off discussing your claim with an experienced Beverly Hills car accident attorney.
California Car Insurance Laws
There are a wide range of car insurance requirements in California, including the following:
- You must show financial responsibility for any losses – or legal damages, including damage to another driver’s vehicle – that you cause. This generally translates to purchasing liability coverage and keeping proof of said coverage in each of your vehicles.
- Additionally, the insurance company that provides you with coverage is required to offer you uninsured motorist coverage (UMC)/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), which helps cover losses you experience when the at-fault motorist does not carry the necessary coverage.
- Medical Payments Coverage is optional and kicks in immediately in situations where you or a passenger in your vehicle is injured – regardless of who is responsible.
Collision coverage is a form of physical damage coverage, and it covers property damage to your vehicle that is caused by physical contact with another car or object, such as any of the following:
- A guardrail
- A deer or another animal
- A tree
- A rock
- A building
Comprehensive coverage is another form of physical damage coverage, but it applies to damage to your vehicle caused by something other than a collision. Examples include damage caused by any of the following:
- Falling objects
Because both of these forms of physical damage coverage relate directly to the value of your car, it may not be worth carrying for older vehicles that have not retained much value.
California Car Insurance Minimums
In addition to the California auto insurance requirements listed above, there are California auto insurance minimums that must be met, including:
- You must carry at least $15,000 of insurance that pays out in the event that you are responsible for a car accident that kills another person.
- You must carry at least $30,000 of insurance that pays out in the event that you are responsible for one car accident that kills more than one person.
- You must carry at least $5,000 of insurance in the event that you are responsible for damaging someone else’s property, such as their vehicle.
It is against the law to drive without liability coverage in California. Additionally, you’ll need proof of coverage to register your car with the DMV. Finally, if you have a car loan, the lender will require you to carry insurance equal to the vehicle’s value.
If another driver’s negligence injures you, the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating you for your physical, financial, and emotional losses because California is what is known as a fault state. If you share some of the fault, however, you can seek the percentage of compensation for which the other driver is responsible.
For example, if you are determined to be 20 percent at fault while the other driver bears 80 percent of the responsibility for the accident that leaves you injured, you can seek compensation for 80 percent of your total losses through a claim that you file with that driver’s insurance provider.
How Is Fault Determined in a California Car Accident?
Although the insurance company handling your car accident claim may attempt to convince you that you bear considerable fault in the car accident that leaves you injured, fault is determined in accordance with the evidence, the facts, and the law. As such, all the following can play a role in determining fault in your claim:
- Evidence gathered at the scene, including any photos and videos
- Eyewitness testimony
- The testimony of expert witnesses who have relevant scientific knowledge
- Accident recreation models that shed light on critical elements of the accident
- Your testimony
- The police report
Be On the Lookout for the Insurance Company’s Tactics
It is important to recognize that the insurance company handling your claim is in the business of covering car accidents but is motivated by profits, which means it will do what it can to keep your settlement low. Common tactics include:
- Offering an early settlement that fails to address your complete losses
- Artificially prolonging or complicating the already lengthy and complicated claims process
- Attempting to shift fault toward you
- Denying the seriousness of your losses
Protect your claim by working closely with a dedicated California car accident attorney.
Consult with an Experienced Beverly Hills Car Accident Attorney Today
If another motorist causes you to be injured in a car accident, the seasoned car accident attorneys at One Law Group in Beverly Hills are well-prepared to wield their impressive experience and legal skill in pursuing your claim’s best possible resolution. Our legal team is standing by to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 310-923-9420 for more information today.
Car Accident Case FAQs
Is a car accident attorney required?
Because a car accident can leave you with considerable losses and the insurance claims process is complicated, having a trusted car accident attorney in your corner is always in your best interest.
How do I know if the other driver is at fault?
The best way to determine fault in your car accident claim is by consulting with an experienced car accident attorney early in the process. By sharing the facts and circumstances involved, you’ll provide the attorney with whom you consult the information necessary to help determine if you have a viable claim.
How can I afford a car accident attorney?
Most reputable car accident attorneys work on contingency fees, which means they don’t get paid unless their clients’ claims prevail with either settlements or court awards.