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Understanding No-Fault Insurance And Its Impact On Car Accident Claims

When most people purchase car insurance, they don’t give it a second thought after paying their premium. Many people set it on autopay or pay it all at once, pushing it further from their minds.

However, when a car accident happens, you’ll certainly think about your auto insurance coverage. Knowing what is covered in your policy is important, but it also helps to understand what no-fault insurance is and how it can impact a car accident claim.

What Is No-Fault Insurance?

Many drivers are confused about what no-fault insurance means. This doesn’t mean that there is never any fault involved in a crash. Instead, it simply means that in states that follow a no-fault insurance system, each party will file a claim with their own auto insurer.

This tends to bring results more quickly since a guilty party doesn’t need to be determined before the insurance company pays. It’s less legally involved, though the party that wasn’t at fault is stuck with the responsibility. States that follow no-fault insurance systems tend to have higher rates for auto insurance since the insurer will need to pay on a claim regardless of whether or not their policyholder was to blame.

California doesn’t use this system for car insurance though. It uses a fault-based system for car accident claims.

What Is a Fault-Based Insurance System?

In a fault-based insurance system, it means that all involved parties will file a claim for the accident through the insurance of the person who is responsible for the crash. If a car runs a red light and crashes into your vehicle, you will file a claim with their insurance company under the fault-based system.

Drivers in fault-based insurance states like California need to understand that while the person who caused the accident will need to pay, it may take time. The accident needs to be investigated first to determine who was at fault before the insurance company will pay medical bills, property damage, and other expenses incurred from the incident. In many cases, it can be hard to tell who was at fault and several rounds of the blame game ensue. Attorneys see this often and can be a tremendous help in ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.

How Does This Impact Car Accident Claims in California?

While no-fault insurance costs more, it makes it easier to recover financial losses in the aftermath of a collision. Since California uses a fault-based structure for its insurance system, you should prepare for a lengthy battle.

As the injured party, you must prove fault. Your injuries may be painful, and coupled with the stress of the situation, you’ll probably want to enlist the legal representation of a car accident attorney. Legal situations can get tricky when trying to prove fault. With everyone pointing the finger, it may be more than you can handle on your own.

Even though California uses a pure comparative negligence structure, you don’t want to take on any fault if the evidence can prove you didn’t do anything wrong. With this structure, you can still recover compensation even if you were 99% at fault, but it will mean you receive much less than the total of your expenses.

Insurance companies are notorious for looking for ways to reduce the payout to an injury victim. While you may enjoy lower premiums, it certainly comes at a cost, one that you will bear the brunt of when someone else causes you injuries in an accident.

Why Hiring a Lawyer Is a Smart Move in California Accident Cases

There are instances where the at-fault party doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to take care of all of your expenses from the wreck. This is when you’ll want to have legal representation as they can fight to keep you from having to pay these bills yourself.

You can be at a grave disadvantage when you have severe injuries and the at-fault driver either has insufficient coverage or tries to blame you for the accident. It helps to have an attorney taking care of the paperwork, investigating, and presenting the evidence to uphold your legal rights. You should never be forced to pay for an accident you didn’t cause or take a huge cut out of your compensation for being assigned fault.

Since most personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations, it’s a wise idea to find out your legal options.

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Written by Marcus Richards

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