Is California a No Fault State & How Does It Impact Car Accidents?

Traffic laws differ depending on where you live, and this is true if the state you live in is California. No fault states are one type of traffic regulation to look for when trying to learn the local rules of the road. If you or a loved one are hurt in an accident, the state’s fault or no-fault status takes on immense importance, impacting what compensation you might receive and who is responsible for providing it.

The question, “Is California no fault state?” has to do with auto insurance and the way claims are handled. Some states fall into a no-fault category, while the remainder are part of the fault category. States are free to choose which category they wish to belong to, and their decision will impact those involved in crashes in that state. 

For example, suppose that you live in California and are insured by a California car insurance company. If a crash happens in California under those circumstances, it does not matter whether any state other than California is fault or no fault. The only relevant factor is the category in which California falls.

Fault vs. No-Fault Auto Insurance States

The difference between fault and no-fault states comes down to who is responsible for paying damages to injured parties after a car crash. In a fault state, the driver who is predominantly responsible for causing the crash and the resulting injuries is also responsible for compensating those individuals. In a no-fault state, each injured party generally covers their own expenses. 

In both situations, it is insurance companies that will predominantly pay compensation to injured parties.

Compensation and Insurance Claims in Fault States

If the state in which the accident occurs is a fault-based state, the driver responsible for causing the crash must pay compensation to any injured party. This includes paying for any property damage done to another’s vehicle or other property in the accident. 

Injured parties access this compensation by filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They may also initiate a lawsuit against the driver directly, in which case the driver’s insurance company will have to indemnify the at-fault driver up to the limits of the insurance policy. Any other compensation awarded to injured parties above and beyond the at fault driver’s policy limits is the responsibility of the at fault driver.

Injured parties in a fault state are able to pursue damages to fully compensate them for all their losses. Moreover, in a fault-based state, injured parties are not legally expected to bear the burden or consequences of the harm inflicted on them by another’s negligence.

One of the chief drawbacks of a fault state, however, is that before any party or insurer pays compensation, fault must be determined. In some cases, this determination can be easily made using available evidence and witness statements. 

In other cases, though, fault may be contested. In such situations, injured partners may not receive any compensation from the at-fault party for weeks or longer. In the interim, they may need to find other ways of paying for necessary medical treatment and addressing their losses.

Compensation and Claims in No-Fault States

In a no-fault state, each driver must have a personal insurance policy that compensates them for injuries they sustain in car accidents. These benefits are accessible no matter who is responsible for the crash, providing a quick and easy source of compensation to injured parties.

However, the ability of the injured parties to receive compensation in no-fault states is typically restricted to the limits of their insurance policies. Lawsuits are usually not permitted unless you sustained severe or permanent injuries. If you do have the ability to file a lawsuit, you must still prove the traditional elements of a car accident case, including that the other driver caused your injuries.

Is California a No-Fault State?

So if you’re wondering, “Is California no fault state?”, the answer is a definite no. California is a fault state, which means you can file a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can also file a lawsuit against that at-fault driver for compensation. California does not require that you only sustain severe injuries — or that you exhaust your own financial resources — before filing a claim or lawsuit.

Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people of San Diego. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents – including cartruck, and motorcycle accidents – need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side. If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!