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Is California a “Fault” State for Car Insurance Purposes?

When a California car crash occurs, which driver’s insurance pay for the damages? This is a fundamental question that many car crash injury victims have in the aftermath of a collision. After all, identifying the proper insurance company with which to file a claim, or identifying the party who may be responsible for paying damages to the other party, is an important first step in an injury victim being able to obtain the funds he or she needs in order to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.

What California’s “Fault-Based” Insurance Rules Mean for Motorists

California is among the majority of states in the country that follow a “fault-based” insurance scheme. This means that the insurance company for the motorist that is determined to be the primary cause of the crash is responsible for paying for the injuries, expenses, and losses of the injured parties. Unlike “no fault” states, insurance companies in fault-based states are not under any obligation to pay the claims of injured motorists (other than their own insured clients) unless their client is determined to be responsible for causing the crash.

In some regards, this is good for injured motorists: It is no secret that insurance premiums increase for a motorist who causes a crash. In “no-fault” states, this increase in premiums can occur even if the motorist was not at fault but simply involved in a crash. However, in fault-based states, only the premiums of the motorist who is determined to be at fault will increase.

On the other hand, however, this arrangement means that payment of claims submitted to the “at-fault” driver’s insurance may be delayed if that driver’s insurance carrier challenges the determination of who is at fault.

Can an Attorney Help Me Get Compensation Sooner?

One of the benefits of having a California personal injury attorney represent you is that your attorney can help advance resolution of your claim or pursue other means of obtaining compensation on your behalf while you focus on your recovery. Dealing with insurance companies and adjustors can be stressful, and any stress you experience in the aftermath of a crash can prolong your recovery period. While even the efforts of the most skilled attorney may not be sufficient to obtain prompt payment on every claim, the assistance of legal counsel can help give you peace of mind during this taxing time.

Heiting & Irwin is your California personal injury law firm and is available to assist you and your family if you or your loved one has been injured by an at-fault motorist. Our firm is well-equipped to deal with insurance companies and adjustors, even in cases involving catastrophic injuries and losses. We will work tirelessly to help you obtain compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Contact our firm today at (951) 682-6400, or contact us online, and schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your case with us today.

Sara Morgan

Ms. Morgan obtained her Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. She contributes to the improvement of both the local and legal communities, having provided pro- and low-bono legal services, and volunteering at legal clinics and other programs serving the community. View Attorney Sara Morgan's Attorney Bio Here.

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