In California, liability insurance is required for all individuals who drive an automobile. Insurance can be demonstrated in one of four ways, including:
1. Coverage by a motor vehicle or car liability insurance policy;
2. A cash deposit of $35,000 with the DMV;
3. A certificate of self-insurance issued by DMV to owners of fleets of more than 25 vehicles; or
4. A surety bond for $35,000 obtained from an insurance company licensed to do business in California.
In California, by far the most common form of liability insurance is acquired through a liability insurance policy. Furthermore, every insurance policy must satisfy the minimum statutory limits of liability insurance. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in harsh penalties. These guidelines are:
- Bodily Injury: Bodily injury coverage entails two minimum requirements, the per-person limit and the limit per accident. In California, the minimum per-person limit for bodily injury is $15,000 and the minimum bodily injury limit per accident is $30,000. Therefore, if an individual only maintains the minimum coverage liability, the amount the insurance will pay will not exceed $30,000 no matter how many passengers were involved.
- Property Damage: The minimum amount of coverage required for damage to other people’s property (their car, their fence, etc.) is $5,000. Comprehensive coverage or losses resulting from incidents other than collision other than collision is not mandatory by law.
Table of Contents:
Optional Coverages Not Required By Law:
Other forms of coverage, which are not required by law, but which are often offered by insurance companies include:
- Uninsured Motorists: If you are involved in an accident with an individual who does not have liability insurance, uninsured motorist coverage will cover the other party’s legal liability for Property Damage
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury: Offers payments when liable party fails to have insurance, or has insufficient liability to cover bodily injuries arising other party’s negligence.
- Comprehensive: Covers losses resulting from accidents other than collisions.
- Medical Payments: Pays for medical payments resulting from an accident, and does not take into account liability. All Occupants of a vehicle are covered, and such coverage is not required.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Statute of Limitations refers to the law the limits the amount of time within which a victim involved in a car accident may bring about legal proceedings. In the state of California, an individual has TWO YEARS in which to file a lawsuit for their damages resulting in a car accident.
Although failure to file a claim within the statutory period could result in barring your claim, there are certain exceptions. Although the statutory period begins to run on the date of the accident, exceptions will be made in situations where the injured party was mentally incompetent or incapable of filing a claim. Furthermore, the statutory period is extended for minors under the age of 18. The minor has until their eighteenth birthday, plus the statutory period of 2 years to file the suit. Lastly, the statutory period may be extended where an injury is unknown, but is later discovered.
Additionally, Car Accident claims against public agency, the claim must be made within 180 days from the date of the car accident. Also, the car accident claim must first be filed and denied before a lawsuit can be commenced.
It is imperative that you call a Car Accident Attorney at Downtown LA Law Today so that your time doe not run out.
WHO’S AT FAULT
In California, only the negligent party is responsible for the injuries incurred during a car accident. A person acts negligently when that individual fails to act in a manner expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances. In relation to car accidents, negligence requires the demonstration of:
- A party was careless, and that carelessness was the direct and proximate cause of the car crash
- The car crash caused some sort of physical or property damage
- The careless party is responsible for the damages
At Downtown LA Law, our Car Accident Attorneys use every means possible to establish fault including police reports, eyewitness testimony, expert witnesses, photos, role playing and computer technology.
California Follows Pure Comparative Negligence
In many car accidents, fault is not black and white. In other words, there are several situations where more than one party is at fault. The question then arises as to what should be done. In the past, even if a party is 1% at fault, they would be barred from any recovery, even though they barely contributed to the accident. California now adopts a pure comparative negligence model.
Under this theory, the injured party in a car accident will still recover damages in an accident, even if that party carries partial blame. Once the portion of fault is determined, that party is entitled to recover in proportion to the other party’s fault.
At Downtown LA Law, our car accident law firm does not recover unless there is a recovery for our clients. We work on a contingency basis, and make sure to maximize your recover.