Fault vs. No-Fault State – What is California?
There are two types of systems when it comes to car accident insurance: fault and no-fault. States abide by their own laws to determine which rules to follow. Depending on the laws in your state, your car accident claim could look very different. It is important to understand the rules in California and how they might impact your case.
California is a fault state, or tort state. This means a driver must prove someone else’s fault for causing the accident to recover.
Differences Between Fault and No-Fault States
There are 12 states that abide by “no-fault” insurance systems. In a no-fault state, drivers will seek recovery through their own insurance companies regardless of who was at fault for the crash. Fault does not matter when it comes to insurance claims in no-fault states. Drivers must pay for their own medical bills and property damages, even if they did not cause the accident. Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is typically mandatory for drivers in no-fault states to help cover these costs.
In no-fault states, the courts only need to determine fault if the crash resulted in extremely high costs or death. This generally reduces the load on civil courts, helping keep statewide costs down. No-fault laws also limit the need to seek help from an attorney after an accident, as there are specific requirements for when someone may sue. It is more common for states to abide by fault laws, as does the State of California. Fault states look at who caused the accident when determining insurance coverage and liability for damages.
In a fault state, accident victims must determine who was at fault for the crash to seek damage recovery. Proving fault may require a police, insurance, and/or attorney investigation. Fault systems aim to hold those responsible for crashes accountable for the actions. At-fault parties must pay the full amounts or at least amounts proportionate to their degree of fault for a crash. This can help parties who are not to blame for the accident move on without incurring significant financial costs. Every state obeys its own rules for assigning percentages of fault and holding parties liable for damages.
What Is the Law in California?
California is a fault state, as well as a comparative fault of plaintiff state. This means that in California, the courts may assign a percentage of fault to the defendant and to the plaintiff in shared-fault accidents. The plaintiff may still recover even if he or she is partially at fault. Some states abide by modified comparative negligence laws, capping the plaintiff’s maximum percentage of fault at 49-51%. California, however, is a “pure comparative negligence” state. Even if a plaintiff is 99% at fault, he or she is still eligible for recovery in CA.
It is important to retain a San Diego Car accident attorney after a crash in California. You may need to prove another party’s fault in causing or contributing to your collision to be eligible for damage recovery. Going up against insurance companies and other parties for compensation is much easier with a knowledgeable attorney by your side. Maximize your compensation in this fault state with professional legal representation.