California is an at-fault state when it comes to auto accidents. At-fault laws mean that parties responsible for damages are also responsible for paying for them. However, the state has specific rules about how much these drivers must cover.
Typically, the insurance company of the at-fault driver pays for losses. Unfortunately, policies have financial limits and exceptions to certain claims. Drivers who do not have auto insurance or not enough coverage are still responsible for paying court-ordered financial awards.
A South Gate car accident lawyer from Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices can review your claim without upfront fees. Our team is dedicated to our clients and seeking the compensation they deserve following a car accident. Contact us at (888) 522-6291 for your free consultation.
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California Car Accident Laws
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires all drivers to show proof of insurance that meets the state’s minimum coverage. The minimum liability each driver must carry includes:
- $15,000 for injuries or the death of one person per accident.
- $30,000 for injuries or the deaths of more than one person per accident.
- $5,000 for property damage.
Drivers can choose to have higher coverage than the minimum requirement. Car insurance providers pay for injuries and property damage, up to the limit, that the policyholder causes. The driver is responsible for paying any court-order expenses higher than the policy’s amount. For example, if the property damage was $10,000, and the driver has minimum coverage, they would be responsible for the other $5,000.
However, California is also a comparative negligence state. Comparative negligence means that more than one person can be responsible for a vehicle collision. The comparative negligence model uses percentages when determining fault.
For example, drivers equally liable for an accident would each be 50 percent responsible for the financial losses, such as a driver speeding down the highway and a driver distracted by talking on their cell phone might split the costs because they were both breaking the law.
The percentage of fault allotted to each driver will influence how much they are responsible for. Say the damages from an accident value up to $100,000. A driver who is 80 percent liable would be responsible for $80,000, while the other driver must cover $20,000—their 20 percent.
Even if you are partially responsible for an accident, you may still be able to seek reimbursement. If you need a South Gate car accident lawyer to fight on your behalf, contact Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices about your claim at (888) 522-6291.
Car Accident Lawsuits
According to California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1, you have two years to start the legal process of recovery for personal injuries or wrongful death. Auto accidents that only involve injuries and property damage less than the driver’s policy are typically resolved with the insurance provider directly.
However, you might need to file a lawsuit if the damages you suffered are not covered by losses the insurance company pays. Likewise, you might need to sue the other driver if they do not have insurance, they are underinsured, or the provider does not cover your loss type.
Auto insurance companies will only pay for economic losses. Economic losses are those that have a specific value, such as a bill or invoice. Economic losses include damages like healthcare treatment, vehicle repairs or replacement, and missed wages.
Insurance companies will only cover economic losses, and they will often try to pay the least amount possible. Your legal team can negotiate with insurance adjusters to seek the reimbursement you need to recover. Evidence of economic losses can include:
- Medical bills: It is important to get medical attention after an accident, as you might have unseen injuries. Neck, back, and internal injuries are common after a car accident.
- Invoices from mechanics: Insurance adjusters might have one figure in their head that does not translate to reality. Having repair quotes on hand can show how much it will cost to repair or replace your vehicle.
- Past paychecks: If you missed work because of injuries, your former paystubs could illustrate how much income you lost because of the accident. Your past wages may also illustrate future lost earnings if your injuries prevent you from returning to work.
Non-economic losses are those that do not have a set price. For example, you can request compensation for the physical pain you suffered because of your injuries. You can also seek compensation for any emotional or mental anguish, such as dealing with a loss of abilities, disfigurement, or losing a family member.
When an individual’s behavior is extreme, the court may order punitive damages as a form of punishment to deter them from repeat behavior. Punitive damages typically only occur if injuries are serious or someone dies.
Helping You Get Your Compensation
We offer free consultations to review your car accident claims. A South Gate car accident lawyer from our firm can discuss your legal options and what to expect when seeking compensation for your losses.
Our team can negotiate with the insurance adjusters and see your case through court. Many clients feel relief when a legal professional speaks for them. The insurance company will have attorneys, and the other driver will likely hire a legal team to counter the suit.
We will keep you informed every step of the way while we negotiate with the other side for your maximum compensation. It will be your decision to accept the settlement amount or press forward to court. If we do not win, you do not pay us.
Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices does not have upfront fees because we only collect payment if we win. Our fees come from your settlement or lawsuit award. These fees are included in the sought amount. Our goal is to get you the compensation you deserve.
Speak to our team about your claim. Call us at (888) 522-6291 for a free consultation.