Car accidents in California have the potential to cause life-threatening injuries. They can be fatal to you and your loved one. These accidents can also cause financial damages. However, if you make a claim, you can be reimbursed for your loss.
Those who have been injured in accidents can claim for their financial loss. The state’s auto accident laws will impact any legal action you take resulting from an automobile accident in California. If you are involved in an accident, you must be well-versed in the rules of the road and the legal system.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
You should engage a personal injury attorney familiar with California’s complicated legal system when you decide to file a compensation claim. Once you consult an attorney, they will review your case and make the necessary arrangement. However, you need to cooperate and provide the required information to ensure your recovery.
Minimum Requirements for Personal and Financial Responsibility in California
For a vehicle to be registered in California, proof of financial stability is required. The quickest and most convenient way to meet your legal obligations as the owner of a registered vehicle is to purchase auto insurance.
A minimum level of insurance coverage is mandated in the state of California. California Insurance Code 11580.1b states that any costs associated with an accident, such as personal injury or property damage, should be covered. All registered automobiles in California must have a minimum of 15/30/5 insurance coverage, which includes:
- A $15,000 fine for one person’s injury or death
- $30,000 loss for every person injured or killed
- Damage to property costs $5,000
It is essential to keep a copy of your insurance policy on hand at all times. To comply with California law, you must show evidence of insurance when you are supposed to. Authorities can request you to show the proof when updating the license plate or when an accident occurs.
Suppose you are in an accident and can’t show proof of financial responsibility. In that case, you could face fines, or worse, get your license revoked.
Accidents Involving Uninsured Drivers
Under California law, your auto insurance carrier must provide bodily injury and property damage liability coverage for accidents caused by uninsured drivers. Suppose you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have valid insurance. In that case, these policies help to cover your injuries and property damage.
As a result of an accident with an uninsured driver, you and your passengers will be compensated for any damages that might have resulted. Compensation is limited to the amount of liability insurance you have.
An underinsured motorist policy might help fill the gap if you are involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages. Legally, you can decline these policies if you want. However, you must express your desire in writing.
Other Car Insurance Coverage Suggestions
You might want to examine additional insurance, even though California law requires you to carry only 15/30/5 coverage. Sometimes, the state’s insurance coverage might not be enough to cover all of the damages and injuries caused by accidents. As a result, victims might seek compensation from you. To protect yourself and others, you need to get the following insurance policies:
- Medical reimbursement
- Comprehensive services
- Automobile coverage
- Theft insurance
These rules will not be acceptable to meet the state’s 15/30/5 criteria. However, if a catastrophic accident occurs, this insurance coverage suggested will come in handy for you.
Establishing Financial Responsibilities
Car insurance is the quickest and easiest way to demonstrate financial responsibility; however, other options exist. Any of the following methods of proving financial responsibility for a registered motor vehicle will be accepted by the state of California:
- The DMV received a $35,000 cash deposit
- Certificate of self-insured status from the DMV
- Surety bonds of at least $35,000 from a licensed company
Requirements for Reporting an Incident
California law mandates that anyone who damages property more than $1,000 or suffers any physical injury in an accident must file a police report. You, your attorney, or your insurance company must notify the DMV within ten days of these accidents if they occurred in California.
SR-1 – The Standard Reporting Form
On form SR-1, the accident report must include the name and address of anyone who claims to have been injured in the accident, as well as:
- The exact timing of the accident
- The whereabouts of the accident
- Information (name, birthday, driver license, address) of the involved drivers
- Information about the applicant
- Insurers’ names, numbers, and license expiration dates for all drivers involved
- Property damage and injury explanations
Driving on a Highway – Your Legal Responsibilities
Failure to yield when approaching or exiting a highway contributes to many car accidents in California. Drivers in California must be aware of and understand their responsibilities to other road users. Preemption in California mandates that anybody entering a highway yield to oncoming traffic and exercise reasonable caution.
According to the California Vehicle Code, driveways and parking lots are examples of public or private drives from which drivers must yield to oncoming traffic when they enter a highway. You can proceed with turning into the highway as soon as you determine that you have enough time to do so without interfering with other vehicles. Drivers on the highway must yield to this driver as soon as they cross the centerline.
According to the CA Vehicle Code, drivers must surrender to vehicles and pedestrians to cross a highway from a roadway and wait until it is safe to move forward. Oncoming cars must stop when the driver crosses the road to avoid accidents.
California’s Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claim
A vehicle accident victim in California has a limited period to submit a legal claim for property damages under the state’s statute of limitations. Depending on the type of damage sustained in an accident, a specified amount of time is permitted.
According to the California Civil Code 338, claims for property damage must be filed within three years of the date of the accident.
California Civil Code 335.1 states that victims of bodily harm should be reported within two years.
Allowing Time for a Legal Claim
The statute of limitations can only be extended a limited number of times when:
- An accident-related injury discovery is delayed for a reasonable amount of time.
- The defendant cannot be located.
- The defendant is sent to prison.
- At the time of the accident, the victim was either a minor or incapacitated.
Government compensation is available to car accident victims who believe that the state, county, or local municipal should be blamed. For administrative claims, the statute of limitations for filing with the government is 180 days.
California Laws Governing the Liability of the Parties Involved
The following are the liability laws in California:
1. Comparative Fault
The principle of pure comparative fault is adhered to by California. The tenets of comparison are essentially two-fold:
- More than one individual can be held liable for the resulting bodily or property damages if an accident occurs.
- Victims who might be responsible for the accident are not prevented from claiming compensation.
It is possible for anyone wounded in an accident to receive compensation, as long as they were not fully liable for causing the disaster. This makes it possible for all accident victims to recover some of their losses.
2. Appropriation of Liability
According to California Civil Code, individuals are held financially responsible for their share of the blame in an accident when more than one person is involved. The ability of an accident victim to receive compensation will be restricted if they were found to have contributed to the accident or injury.
In a California car accident, two parties are involved. As A was texting, B rolled through a stop sign at an intersection. After the collision, each party lost $100,000 in damages. It is fair to say that both of them will bear some blame for the accident. Each of these individuals will be assigned a percentage of the responsibility. Let’s claim that party A is responsible for 80% of the damage; then, the other party will be responsible for 20%.
Compensation for Car Accident Victims
Personal injury victims, including those involved in car accidents, are entitled to economic and non-economic damages under California law.
According to California Civil Code 1431.2(b)(1), any “objectively provable monetary losses” experienced by a victim are considered economic damages. Some examples are as follows:
- Expenses incurred due to medical treatment
- Diminished profits
- Possible employment or business losses
- Property Damage
- Property Losses
- Costs associated with funeral and burial.
Victims might be entitled to compensation for “subjective, non-monetary losses,” as defined in the California Civil Code section 1431.2(b)(2). Some examples are as follows:
- The anguish of being harmed
- Mental suffering
- The loss of camaraderie and association.
- Inconvenience or humiliation
Restrictions on Damage Recovery
Non-economic damages cannot be recovered, as stated in California Civil Code 333.4. To be eligible for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other non-economic injury compensation, drivers should meet the state’s financial responsibility requirements by having insurance on their vehicle.
Hiring an Experienced Attorney in California
Paying for an attorney to handle your case will increase the amount of money you get back from the insurance company. These attorneys ensure that their clients receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Car accident lawsuits can be highly complicated and cannot be tackled solely by you.
Phoong Law can provide unmatched legal services to those hurt in vehicle accidents in California. Because of our comprehensive understanding of the state’s auto accident laws and processes, as well as our considerable trial experience. Contact us immediately if you have gone through property or bodily damages to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve. To learn more about our services, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.
What is considered property damage in an accident?
In an automobile accident, any property damage is considered. In addition to the damage to your vehicle, you should check whether any of your personal belongings were damaged in the accident. A GPS system, a phone, a GoPro camera, or even CDs might be included.
What type of insurance covers damages to property caused by accident?
In most states, you are obliged to have insurance to cover you in case of property damage. Suppose you are at fault for an automobile accident that damages another vehicle or property, such as a fence or the front of a building. In that case, you might be eligible for financial compensation.
What are examples of property damage?
Damage to real or personal property is known as property damage. Examples include a chemical leak or an automobile damaged in an accident.
How do property damage insurance claims work?
Comprehensive and collision coverage protects your personal items. If a driver is found to be at fault in an accident, property damage coverage, like physical injury coverage, alleviates some financial burdens of the harm they inflict.
Who is responsible for property damage?
Negligent drivers are obligated to pay for the damage they might have inflicted, including property damage and personal injury claims
What is covered by the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance?
Your car’s repair and replacement costs are covered under comprehensive coverage in case of theft or damage other than a collision. Vandalism, natural disasters, falling objects, fire, hail, flooding, and animal attacks are also included under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance.
What is property damage on car insurance?
When personal belongings get damaged in a car accident, the driver can claim reimbursement by using automobile insurance.
What is the property damage statute of limitations in California?
If you have suffered property damage due to an accident or car theft, you must bring a lawsuit within three years of the mishap.
What tort is property damage?
Assault, battery, damage to personal property, theft, and intentional cause of mental distress are among the most common torts.