Our Blog

Is California a No-Fault State?

When you get into a car accident in California, it is important to know how you will receive compensation for your damages and injuries. Many people may wonder if California is a no-fault insurance state.

California is not a no-fault state for auto insurance.

California operates as a “fault state” when it comes to car accidents. This means that individuals have the right to sue another person for compensation for bodily injury or loss resulting from a car accident.

How is At-Fault Different than No-Fault?

California has operated at a fault state for some time now, though there are some states across the country that operate as “no-fault” states. In those places, an injured driver does not have to prove that another driver is at fault in the accident in order to receive compensation for bodily injuries resulting in medical bills. The injured driver’s personal insurance company handles the claim.

In these states, injured drivers cannot pursue the at-fault driver for personal injury compensation. Some states will allow the victim to file a lawsuit against the at fault driver, but only if the injury expenses reach a certain dollar amount or are labeled as “catastrophic” injuries under the law.

In no-fault states, property damage is not included. To secure coverage for property damage in these states, a person must file a claim with the insurance provider of the at-fault individual.

California Car Accident Statistics

To gain a better understanding of how car accidents affect residents in California, we can turn to the state’s Office of Traffic Safety’s for the latest available statistics. During the latest reporting year, there were hundreds of thousands of vehicle accidents across the state. Out of those accidents, there were:

  • 273,069 total injuries
  • 3,602 total fatalities

The Office of Traffic Safety says that over 14,000 of those injuries were considered “serious” injuries that dramatically affected a person’s life.

What Kind of Compensation is Available for a Car Accident Claim?

When drivers are injured in an accident in a California, they will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. There are various types of compensation available in these cases. This can include:

  • Your medical expenses related to the incident
  • Lost wages and benefits if you cannot work
  • Property damages for vehicle repair or replacement

Insurance Companies Can be Difficult

Insurance carriers are “for-profit” companies, meaning they do not want to make large settlement payouts. Because of this, you can expect that they will thoroughly investigate the crash. The insurance carrier of the at-fault driver will almost certainly try to pin some or all of the blame for the incident on the other side. Due to California’s comparative negligence system, a settlement could be reduced if it is found that the other driver contributed to the accident in some way. This means that if you were found to be 10% at fault in an accident and had $10,000 worth of expenses, you would only receive 90% of the total amount, or $9,000.

Because of this, it may be necessary to secure a skilled car accident attorney to help you prove the other driver’s fault and deal with the insurance companies for you. Your attorney will gather all of the evidence necessary to prove your case and secure the compensation you deserve.