There are so many questions whenever the term “no-fault” appears in relation to an insurance issue or accident, especially when personal injury is involved. Some states require this type of coverage, and there are many that argue that it is a costly and even redundant requirement because most drivers have health insurance coverage.
What Does “No-Fault Accident” Mean?
Of course, to get to the heart of the matter posed in the title above (is California a no-fault state), it is a good idea first to understand fully what is meant by the term no-fault accident. In essence, it means that a state has laws in place that require all drivers to carry a no-fault policy, which is a way to provide all drivers to access to health insurance should they be injured in a car accident.
The terminology is very confusing, too. What does it mean when there is a no-fault accident, for example? In any accident, there is always someone to blame (or, at least, most of the time). For example, an auto accident may occur because someone is texting and fails to apply their brakes in time to avoid hitting the car in front of them. In that case, that accident was their fault.
In a no-fault state, that is not necessarily the case. In the no-fault state, if that driver were injured, they would file a claim for their injuries and might have the other driver’s insurance provider pay for it.
No-Fault vs. At-Fault
The above explanation is precisely why so many people have a bit of a problem with the idea of no-fault, and is why California is NOT a no-fault state. In California, a driver can definitely file a claim against the other driver’s insurance if they are injured, but they can also sue for damages.
This is the primary difference between no-fault and at-fault states. In the no-fault system, there are no cases that go to small claims because of auto accidents. Instead, each insurance company pays the policyholders regardless of who is to blame.
Some states have a personal injury protection segment within a no-fault insurance policy, though, and this alleviates the victim not at fault from proving the other driver was to blame in order to be compensated.
In the at-fault system, such as what exists in California, the insurance companies pay for the damages sustained according to the degree of fault of each party. So, the one who hit someone else because they were texting becomes liable for the damages to the person they hit.
Their insurance coverage pays the injured victim, but if that victim does not feel it is enough, they can file a claim. The amount of fault is determined by insurance adjusters who look at everything from police reports and photos to interviewing witnesses.
Were You in an Accident?
If you have been in an accident and are concerned about getting compensated, your first step is to contact a personal injury attorney or law firm to help you build your case and get the compensation you deserve.