Car accidents can happen at any moment, leaving drivers and passengers with serious injuries and property damage. If you’re driving in California, it’s essential to be aware of the state’s car accident laws. Here are some important car accident law facts to know if you’re driving in California:
Fault-based system: California is a “fault” state, meaning that the driver who is found to be at fault for causing the accident is responsible for paying for damages and injuries that result from the accident.
Statute of limitations: In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim after a car accident is two years from the date of the accident. If you don’t file a claim within that time frame, you may lose your right to sue.
Comparative negligence: California uses a comparative negligence system, which means that even if you were partly responsible for the accident, you can still recover damages. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Minimum insurance requirements: California law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance with at least $15,000 coverage for injury or death to one person, $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person, and $5,000 for property damage.
Mandatory reporting: In California, drivers must report an accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days if there was more than $1,000 in damage or if anyone was injured or killed.
Hit-and-run accidents: Hit-and-run accidents are a serious offense in California, and the penalties can be severe. If you leave the scene of an accident without stopping to exchange information or render aid, you could face fines, license suspension, and even criminal charges.
No-fault insurance: California does not have a no-fault insurance system, meaning that drivers must seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
In conclusion, being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience in California. However, having a basic understanding of California’s car accident laws can help ease the stress and uncertainty of the situation. Remember, fault can play a significant role in determining who is responsible for damages and injuries. Also, timing is critical in personal injury claims, so it’s important to act quickly and seek legal advice from an experienced attorney.