After suffering serious injuries in an auto accident, it is up to you to protect your rights. Knowing your available remedies under California law can help you choose the right course of action.
Working with a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles can help you seek compensation for your crash-related damages. In the meantime, here are four car accident laws you should know.
Fault-based insurance system
Like most states, California operates under a fault-based car insurance system. This means after an accident, the at-fault party is legally responsible for damages. As the victim of a car accident, you or your lawyer need to identify the at-fault party before you can file a claim. Then, you must contact that driver’s insurance company to seek benefits.
Comparative fault laws
California is a pure comparative negligence state. You could recover compensation from the at-fault party even if you contributed to the car accident. If the courts found you 99 percent responsible for the collision, you could still recover 1 percent of a compensation award. Minimizing your liability for the wreck with help from a lawyer could maximize your financial recovery.
When to call the police
In California, the law obligates you to call the police and report a car accident if it results in personal injuries, deaths or more than $750 worth of property damage. Typically, the police will report your accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles for you. If not, however, you must report the crash to the DMV within 10 days.
Statute of limitations on civil claims
If you suffered serious or catastrophic injuries or the death of a loved one in an accident, a personal injury lawsuit may be better suited to compensate you than an insurance claim. You have two years from the date of your accident or from the date of your loved one’s death to file a civil claim in California. Missing this deadline could mean losing your ability to file.