Who Will Pay For My California Car Accident?
Southern California auto accident attorney breaks down what's covered
The financial impact of a car accident in California can be staggering. Even if your injuries seem minor, there are often many other expenses people don't even expect to deal with - until they've been in a serious accident themselves.
We know because our law firm has been helping auto accidents victims in Southern California for decades. Attorney Brian Brandt has a well-earned reputation in the Inland Empire and throughout the region for getting sizable settlements and verdicts for his clients. That's why we created this page - to help you understand all the different types of compensation available to you.
California car accident expenses - what's covered
The list of accident-related expenses you may be eligible to receive after your accident covers a wide range. Some of the most common expenses include:
- Emergency medical bills
- Vehicle repair or replace cost
- Lost income during recovery
But those three items are just the start of a long list of accident-related expenses that can be covered under an accident settlement or verdict. Other expenses which you should be compensated for include:
- Car rental while your vehicle's being repaired or replaced
- Childcare if you cannot care for children during your recovery
- Physical therapy
- Home modifications (if you sustain a permanent disability)
- Future lost earnings (if you cannot work or can only work limited hours)
Then there are the expenses that can be harder to define, but are very real and deserve to be compensated for. These expenses include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
When you add all these things together, the financial toll of a car accident can climb into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. That's why it's critical that you have an experienced lawyer who knows how to find the facts you need to build a strong legal case.
California's "fault" car accident insurance system
If you don't have evidence proving you did not cause your car accident, you will likely not be able to get the money you deserve to cover your accident-related expenses. That's because California has a fault-based car accident insurance system.
This means that you must prove the other driver was at least partially at fault in order to receive compensation. California uses a system of comparative negligence, which means that if multiple drivers are partially responsible for the accident, compensation is divided according to each driver's percentage of fault.
Whoever caused the crash must compensate all accident victims, including other drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians and anyone else hurt in the crash. But the at-fault driver does not have to personally compensate others after an accident in most cases. Rather, the insurance company for the at-fault driver must compensate everyone else.
California car accident insurance requirements
All drivers in California are required to have car insurance. The minimum amount of insurance coverage required in California include:
- $5,000 for property damage
- $15,000 for injury or death for one person
- $30,000 for injury or death to two or more people
These figures are the minimum amount required in California. Drivers can - and often should - get more insurance coverage. That's because many car accidents turn out to cost significantly more.
California's Financial Responsibility Requirement
If you don't want to get car insurance in California, there is an alternative, although it's important to note that the overwhelming majority of drivers in California simply choose to get auto insurance.
The alternative is a form of coverage known in California as its "financial responsibility" requirement. Under this requirement, drivers must choose one of three alternatives:
- Deposit $35,000 cash with California's Department of Motor Vehicles
- Obtain a self-insurance certificate from California's DMV
- Obtain a $35,000 surety bond from an insurance company licensed in California
Auto accidents involving uninsured drivers
Even though all California drivers are required to have car insurance or coverage of some kind, that doesn't mean every driver in California follows the law. Some drivers choose to not get car insurance for a variety of reasons - from having no money to losing their driver's license.
You might think there's no way you can be compensated in a crash involving an uninsured driver. But the reality is there are often several ways to get the money you deserve for an accident involving an uninsured driver.
One way is to file a claim with your own insurance company. This is especially true if you have uninsured motorist coverage. However, California drivers are not required to get such coverage. So if you don't have uninsured motorist insurance, we can help you explore other legal options.
Auto accidents involving underinsured drivers
Accidents involving drivers who don't have enough insurance coverage in California happen far more than you might realize. Underinsured driver accidents can be very complicated. That's because the insurance companies for both drivers often become involved in a bitter battle over who will pay for your accident.
Attorney Brandt knows how to handle such complicated cases. He knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and, if necessary, take them to court to get you the money you rightfully deserve. He can also serve as your legal advocate if you have underinsured motorist coverage, a type of insurance available in California to all drivers.
Dealing with your insurance company after your accident
Many people are surprised to learn they can be compensated for a car accident by their own insurance company. But that's often how it works in several different types of auto accidents, including:
- Accidents involving uninsured drivers
- Accidents involving underinsured drivers
- Hit-and-run car accidents
Even more surprising - your insurance company does not have your best interests at heart. In most cases, insurance companies only care about paying you as little as possible after your accident. That's because profits generally come before your best interests.
How we can help you after your crash
Experience matters when it comes to complicated California car accidents. That's why accident victims turn to attorney Brian Brandt after a serious accident. With more than three decades of legal experience, Brian Brandt knows what it takes to win. Don't take chances after your accident. Take action. Contact our law firm and find out how we can help you.