When a car accident involves two vehicles, one of the drivers will most likely be cited by the police as being the cause due to some kind of negligence. Being that California is a “fault” car insurance state, the person at fault can be sued for medical expenses and other applicable costs. When it comes to pursuing compensation, the suing party doesn’t have many restrictions when filing their claim against the party at fault.
If you have been injured in a car accident that’s due to someone else’s negligence, you have the option of pursuing the negligent party for compensation that pays for lost income, medical bills, property damage, and lost wages resulting from the accident. A Mendocino injury attorney can make a significant difference in the success of your claim by helping you take one or more of the following actions:
- File a claim with your own auto insurance company.
- Pursue a claim through the insurance company of the driver at fault.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the driver at fault.
The difference between a fault state and a no-fault state is that in a no-fault state, the driver that was injured can file a claim with their own car insurance company for the payment of lost income and medical bills. While this may seem simple, there are strict restrictions in no-fault states. Californians don’t have to worry about these no-fault rules, but what they do have to be concerned about is pursuing meaningful compensation. Insurance companies try to award as little as possible in order to protect their bottom lines, which is why they may try to reach the injured party to get them to agree to an immediate settlement that isn’t enough to cover all costs.
California’s Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
California requires that a motorist carry at least liability coverage at the minimum dollar amount. When a vehicle is financed through a bank, the bank may require the motorist to carry full coverage insurance that also includes collision coverage in addition to the liability portion. Nonetheless, most motorists will carry California car insurance that is equal to or slightly greater than the minimum requirements.
The minimum coverage amounts a driver in California needs to carry include:
- $15,000 for injury or death to the person not at fault, whether that person is a passenger, pedestrian, or another driver.
- $30,000 for the injury or death of two or more people.
- $5,000 property damage.
These amounts are just the minimum, so motorists can carry more coverage if they want to. However, many don’t and that means the minimum amounts are not enough. Your California car accident attorney can help you understand the limits and what you can do to recover meaningful compensation.
If the motorist at fault is an uninsured or underinsured motorist, then you can turn to your insurance company if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as a part of your policy. Nonetheless, this sort of coverage is not required in California, so there are a lot of drivers not carrying it. In fact, there are different insurance options available to drivers.
Alternatives to Car Insurance
If a motorist in California doesn’t want to purchase a car insurance policy, the state does allow for a few other options that keep them in compliance with the financial responsibility laws. Those options are:
- Acquire a self-insurance certificate from the DMV
- Pay a $35,000 cash deposit with the DMV.
- Get a $35,000 surety bond from an entity that is licensed to issue such bonds in the state.
If you are in an accident with someone in California who doesn’t have insurance, they may have one of the above forms of protection. However, the amount of protection may not be enough to cover your expenses and that means your attorney will need to take a strategic approach to helping you recover the compensation you deserve.