Like many states, California has a fault car insurance system. If you were injured by a negligent driver in Orange County, you might have a lot of questions about filing a claim and your right to compensation. While the value of your claim depends on circumstances surrounding the accident and the strength of your evidence, there are some fault car insurance basics that apply to most claims. Learn more about our fault-based system below.
What Is Fault Car Insurance?
A fault car insurance policy only covers accident-related expenses if you caused the accident and the injuries. For example, suppose another driver hits your car after running a red light and gets a ticket. At the time of the accident, you were following all of California’s traffic laws and could not have avoided the accident. In this situation, the other driver is at fault — and his or her insurance policy should cover your medical expenses, property damage, and other expenses. If you were at fault for an accident, your insurance policy should cover both your claim and the claims of others involved in the crash.
Before you can receive compensation for your injuries, you must file a timely claim with the correct insurance company. At Russell & Lazarus, we understand that the insurance claim process can feel overwhelming — especially when you recovering from serious injuries. A personal injury lawyer might help you:
- Identify the relevant insurance companies,
- File claim paperwork,
- Identify evidence supporting your claim, and
- File a lawsuit.
Contact us for more information today.
California’s Insurance Coverage Requirements
>California requires that all drivers carry a minimum level of fault auto insurance coverage.
- $15,000 for the injury or death of someone who was not at-fault (such as another driver, passenger, pedestrian, or cyclist),
- $30,000 for accidents involving two or more people, and
- $5,000 in property damage coverage.
Once the insurance company reaches the policy limit, it will no longer cover the claim. Unfortunately, California’s minimum insurance requirements will not fully cover serious or catastrophic injuries. And, if the other driver is uninsured, you might be unable to collect against the driver.
For this reason, we encourage all our friends and clients to purchase robust auto insurance policies, including uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you have questions about your policy and legal rights, contact Russell & Lazarus for more information.
How Do I Prove Fault After a Car Accident?
>Most car accident claims involve negligence. To prove negligence, you must show:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care,
- The driver violated this duty of care,
- The violation caused your injuries, and
- You suffered actual damages.
While this might sound like a simple analysis, auto negligence claims can quickly become complicated.
Insurance companies are for-profit companies. They are therefore constantly looking for reasons to deny fault car insurance claims and cut their costs. For example, the fault car insurance company might deny your claim if there is:
- Evidence suggesting that you had pre-existing injuries,
- A factual dispute about who caused the accident, or
- Disagreement about the extent of your damages.
If the insurance company denies your claim — or gives you the runaround — contact a fault car insurance attorney at Russell & Lazarus immediately.
What Is Comparative Fault?
Sometimes, multiple drivers cause or contribute to an accident. California is a comparative fault or comparative negligence state. In other words, you are liable for your percentage of fault. Therefore, if you were 50% responsible for the accident, your insurance company must pay 50% of the damages (up to your policy limits). However, insurance companies frequently try to manipulate comparative fault percentages to minimize their liability. If you need help understanding how California’s comparative fault laws apply in your claim, contact us for a free consultation.
Discuss Your Claim With an Orange County Fault Car Insurance Lawyer
If you need help filing a fault car insurance claim or lawsuit, schedule a free evaluation with one of our personal injury lawyers. Since 1998, Russell & Lazarus has exclusively represented Orange County residents in accident-related claims. We look forward to speaking with you.