Is CA a No-Fault State?

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( — February 28, 2019) — In the world of car insurance, there are “fault” and “no-fault” states – terms which can be confusing, and sometimes misleading. If you already understand the specifics of what these designations mean, then here is the short answer: California is a “fault” state. If you are not completely sure what this actually means, take a look below to learn more about what this means, and what sort of implications living in a “fault” state can have for drivers and injury victims.

What Does It Mean That California Is a Fault State?

Simply put, a “fault” state means that a victim of a car accident is legally allowed to file a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident. When you are seeking damages from the person who caused the accident, you will either go after their insurance policy, the driver directly, or both, depending on how comprehensive their insurance coverage is, and how much it addresses your injuries.

Since California is a “fault” state, you will need to prove that the other driver actually caused the accident that you are seeking damages for. If you caused the accident, you are not able to seek damages from the other driver.

Filing a Lawsuit In a Fault State

When you are seeking compensation in a “fault” state, it is extremely important that you work with a legal representative. An Orange County personal injury lawyer will be able to deal directly with the insurance company, and make sure that the settlement you end up with is fair for the injuries that you have sustained.

When you deal directly with the insurance company, you should always remember that their primary goal is to make the smallest payment possible, and eliminate any future liability for the accident. When they make you an offer, it will not be anywhere near the full amount you should get, and they will make you sign away your right to seek additional damages from their client.

What Happens After an Accident in a No-Fault State?

In a no-fault state, like Florida, you would simply go directly to your own car insurance after an accident, regardless of who caused it. The amount that you receive is severely limited by the regulations in place in Florida, because it makes it much harder to seek additional compensation from the other driver. In accidents that have minor injuries or costs associated, no-fault policies greatly reduce lawsuits in the court systems, and can free up courtrooms for bigger cases. However, a victim may find that they are unable to get the money they believe they are rightfully owed.

Comparative Fault in California

During a personal injury lawsuit, each side of the suit will work to prove an amount of comparative fault. This is a way to ensure that a victim is compensated for their injuries, but their awards reflect the amount that they contributed to the crash. For example, if a person was found to have been 10% responsible for causing an accident, and was awarded $100,000 in a lawsuit, they would ultimately be given $90,000 because of their 10% fault.

When you are working on a lawsuit with an attorney, they will work to be certain that your percentage of fault, if any, accurately addresses your situation and leaves you with the compensation you deserve.