Is California a No-Fault State?
No, California is not a no-fault state. The state of California follows at-fault negligence laws, meaning injury victims (particularly in car accident cases) must prove the liability of another party in order to recover compensation. No-fault and at-fault states each have their own methods for determining negligence in car accident cases, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each type.
At-Fault vs. No-Fault Laws
The main difference between at-fault laws and no-fault laws is in the name: At-fault states require a determination of fault, while no-fault states do not. Because of this main difference, these laws involve different processes for filing car accident claims and recovering compensation.
In at-fault states, injury victims need to file their car accident claim with the liable driver’s insurance company. During this process, they will need to prove that driver’s fault (while likely being labeled as responsible by the other driver and their insurance company). Filing a claim in an at-fault state can be a complicated and expensive process. However, an advantage of living in an at-fault state is that you can sue the liable driver for noneconomic damages.
No-fault states do not involve as much of the negotiation and filing processes as in at-fault states, because drivers can file a claim with their own insurance company. Drivers in these states do not need to worry about providing evidence of liability or defending themselves against the other driver’s claims. In no-fault states, drivers cannot pursue noneconomic damages from the other driver. Additionally, a driver’s insurance costs can raise if they report an accident.
Pure Comparative Negligence in California
Although California’s at-fault negligence laws require that a person is labeled as responsible for a car accident, that does not mean that one person is labeled as responsible for a car accident.
The laws in the state of California follow the principle of pure comparative negligence. Pure comparative negligence laws allow multiple people to be found liable for car accidents, because everyone involved in a collision is assigned a percentage of fault. It’s certainly possible that one person could be 100% at fault for a car accident, but it’s equally likely that two people can each be 50% at fault, or two people could each be 15% at fault while one person is 70% at fault. These values can vary widely depending on the details of each individual car accident.
Our attorneys can help you determine who was liable for your car accident, and establish proof of their fault. We are committed to recovering just compensation for injury victims, and making the process as stress-free as possible. We know car accident claims can be confusing — our goal is to represent you and help you understand your rights.
The Tedford & Associates legal team helps car accident injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision and need assistance with your injury claim, contact us to discuss your case.
To schedule a free case evaluation with our lawyers, complete our contact form or call (626) 325-0142.