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Home | Is California a No-Fault State for Car Insurance?

Is California a No-Fault State for Car Insurance?

by | Feb 18, 2022 | Car Accidents

Every state in the US upholds specific laws about car insurance and liability for accidents. Generally, states fall into one of two categories: fault and no-fault. In a no-fault state, drivers resolve car accidents by filing claims against their own auto insurance policies. While some car accidents can justify further legal action, the rules for filing such claims are quite strict in no-fault states. However, California is not a no-fault state, so fault rules apply after any car accident. The driver responsible for causing an accident absorbs liability for the resulting damages with a fault-based system.

How Does Fault Insurance Work?

The auto insurance requirements in a state hinge on the state’s fault rules. In a fault-based system, drivers must have auto insurance that provides adequate coverage if they are responsible for causing an accident with another driver. In addition, the auto insurance policy must include bodily injury liability coverage for everyone injured in an accident caused by the policyholder and property damage liability coverage for an accident the policyholder caused.

In California, the auto insurance requirements include:

  • $15,000 or more in bodily injury liability coverage for a single person.
  • $30,000 or more in bodily injury liability coverage for a total accident.
  • $5,000 or more in property damage liability coverage.

In addition to these minimum requirements, California recommends all drivers purchase coverage for underinsured and uninsured motorist accidents. California has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country, and this coverage can provide more immediate relief than a personal injury claim.

Determining Liability for a Car Accident

Under California’s fault-based system, an investigation is necessary after any car accident unless the at-fault driver is willing to assume responsibility for the accident. Several types of evidence might come into play to determine fault for a car accident, including vehicle computer data, cell phone records, and traffic camera footage if the accident occurred in view of any traffic cameras.

If you believe another party caused your recent car accident, but they refuse to accept liability, it’s essential to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your legal team can assist you in gathering the evidence to establish responsibility for your damages and hold the at-fault driver accountable.

Common Problems With Car Insurance Claims

It’s challenging to deal with insurance companies, even if liability for your damages is perfectly clear. Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums and lose money when they pay out on their policies. While insurance companies have a legal obligation to handle every claim in good faith, they generally look for all reasons they can find to deny a claim or offer as little compensation as possible. Unfortunately, many insurance companies rely on policyholders’ and claimants’ lack of awareness of their rights and lack of understanding of their coverage to take advantage of them.

Hiring an attorney is one of the best things you can do to maximize your claim payout from an auto insurance claim. Your attorney can draft your demand letter to the insurance company on your behalf. They will correspond with the insurance company’s representatives for you and ultimately negotiate the best possible settlement for your claim. Working with an attorney is the best way to discourage the insurance company from trying to take advantage of you.

What Happens If Insurance Won’t Cover My Losses?

Some car accidents are severely damaging. If another driver is responsible for such an accident that you recently experienced, their auto insurance coverage may not be enough to fully cover your losses. Therefore, you would need to file a personal injury claim against them to recover your remaining damages in this situation. An experienced attorney is essential in this case. They can not only assist you in maximizing the recovery you obtain from an insurance settlement but also help you calculate the full scope of claimable damages you can include in your personal injury claim.


Q: Who Determines Fault in an Auto Accident in California?

A: Fault can be determined in several ways after an accident. The police may make a solid determination based on their initial findings from the crash scene. If the insurance company disagrees, or if an investigation determines that more than one party is liable for the accident, the case can proceed to a trial.

Q: What Does No-Fault State Mean?

A: The simplest definition of a no-fault state is a state in which fault does not legally matter after a car accident. Anyone involved in a car accident must use their own auto insurance policy to recover compensation after an accident. California’s system uses a fault rule, so it’s essential to determine who caused the accident to secure a recovery for resulting damages.

Q: What Happens If You Are at Fault in a Car Accident in California?

A: If you are responsible for causing a car accident, the other driver will file a claim against your auto insurance policy. You may have several options for deflecting liability, such as asserting comparative negligence if you believe the other driver contributed to causing the accident. In addition, if your insurance policy cannot fully cover the claimant’s losses, they may file a personal injury claim against you.

Q: Can Someone Sue You for a Car Accident If You Have Insurance in California?

A: Another party may only sue you for a car accident that you caused if your auto insurance policy does not provide enough coverage to fully compensate for their damages. You should consult an attorney as soon as possible to ensure the claim is legal and valid and that you exhaust all of your insurance coverage before assuming liability for personal injury damages.

Navigating the aftermath of any car accident can be very difficult without legal representation. Whether you believe you are at fault for an accident, share fault with another driver, or if the other driver is responsible for your damages, it’s essential to seek legal counsel you can trust as soon as possible. The sooner you secure legal representation, the easier it will be for you to address the legal proceedings that will follow your accident. Chris and Frank can help you figure out your best legal options after any car accident in Southern California, so contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the legal services we offer.

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