Although a no-fault state may elude to suggestions that neither party involved in an accident is held accountable or deemed to be responsible, this is not the case.
Typically in an accident, one party will be responsible for the payout to the other party for damage or injuries depending on who was liable.
However, in a no-fault state, each driver has insurance that will pay for their injuries or damages sustained to their vehicle, rather than their insurance compensating the other driver with a payout.
Simply put, in a no-fault state both drivers will need to file a claim using their insurance regardless of who caused the accident.
Some states will also require drivers to buy PIP coverage as this provides additional help with covering the medical expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident.
In some states, individuals will still be allowed to file a lawsuit against the driver that was responsible for the accident depending on the severity of the case. For example, you may have lost more than what you are covered for by your insurance policy.
Unlike many other states, California isn't a no-fault state but rather an at-fault state. California applies pure comparative negligence laws meaning that each driver involved in the accident can be deemed responsible.
As such, each driver is assigned a percentage value that determines their fault in the accident. While it may be that one driver is solely responsible for causing the accident, the blame can also be split between two drivers with each 50% responsible for the blame.
The value of responsibility that is applied to each driver is of course going to differ depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Essentially, the law in California allows a driver to sue the third party who was responsible, covering expenses for injuries they have suffered, treatments they have endured as a result, and any damage that their property has obtained too.
Pure Comparative negligence law which is followed in California allows those involved in the accident to claim compensation for their injuries, even if they are partially responsible for the cause of the accident.
This doesn't mean that you will receive a huge lump sum, but instead, the amount that you are owed is going to be decided by your percentage of fault in the accident.
Proving who was responsible for an accident can be a challenging task. However, enlisting the help of an attorney can help determine who is to blame for the accident and their knowledge can prove valuable in ensuring that you receive the compensation that you are owed.
What is the difference between a no-fault and an at-fault state?
Simply put, the difference between these states is that the driver who is at fault for causing the accident doesn't need to be proved in a no-fault state because each party's insurance company will be responsible for paying the claim.
However, in an at-fault state like California, the responsibility is placed onto the individual depending on the percentage of fault. The driver who caused the accident will be responsible for compensating the other parties involved by paying for damages or injuries.
If the insured, injured individual disputes the amount that they have been paid out, they can take further action by filing a lawsuit in an attempt to receive the amount of compensation that is considered appropriate for the nature of the accident.
In a no-fault state, the driver doesn't have the right to sue for any additional damages or expenses once they have been paid.
However, some states will allow the individual to sue for more compensation if the amount that they have been paid doesn't cover the expenses that they have incurred as a result of the accident.
What is auto insurance?
Auto insurance is a contract between you and your insurance provider and it covers you for damage against your property, the medical expenses as a result of the accident, and liability. In California, drivers are required to carry minimum coverage for particular situations.
Driver's must have at least $15,000 in bodily injury coverage and $30,000 for more than one person as well as $5,0000 for liability coverage for damages sustained to property.
Because California is an at-fault state if the insurance policy of the liable driver doesn't cover all of the expenses the victim can sue for more.
For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that your auto insurance policy offers enough protection for covering these costs. If you don’t have adequate coverage, you may find yourself paying the costs to the injured party out of your own money.
Determining Who Is At Fault
Determining who is to blame for an accident can be a challenging process and one that requires evidence to analyze the events that led to the collision.
While it is sometimes obvious to see who was to blame depending on the nature of the accident, the driving manner of each individual, and the damage sustained by the vehicles, it isn’t always so straightforward.
More often than not, the police report will be obtained and analyzed by the insurance company as it will contain details of the accident along with the perspective of the officer. Gathering additional evidence can also help to support your case.
As California is an at-fault state that follows negligence laws, the liability of the driver responsible for the accident must be proven. When the liable driver has been identified they will be responsible for compensating the other drivers who were involved.
The responsibility of the accident isn’t solely placed on one individual and it may sometimes be the case that the percentage of fault is divided between the number of drivers involved.
As the at-fault driver is deemed liable, they are responsible for the expenses that are paid out to the other drivers, and because of this, it is crucial to ensure that you have an insurance policy in place that provides enough coverage to pay for these claims.