Is California An At-Fault or No-Fault Insurance State?

Whether you live in a state where your insurance is governed by a no-fault or at-fault regime can play a serious part in how you handle the aftermath of a car accident.

What’s the difference? No-fault law requires all drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance. This provides drivers with easy access to health insurance if they are injured in a car accident.

No-fault accident laws are more than a little contested. This is mostly because it is perceived as expensive and redundant – due to the fact that most drivers already have health insurance.

Regardless of whether you think they’re right or wrong, you still must abide by them if you live in a state that practices them. If you’ve been in a no-fault accident, you probably want to know more details and if your insurance rate will go up. Keep reading to learn what you need to know.

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Car Accident where one car rearended another

What Does “No-Fault Accident” Mean?

In most states, when an accident occurs, someone takes the blame.

Unless two cars both run stop signs and collide or merge into a center lane from opposite sides and wreck, in most accidents, one driver is clearly at fault.

But in a no-fault state, that isn’t necessarily true.

In a no-fault state, a driver who is injured in an auto accident simply has to file a claim for compensation for their injuries. Once filed, the other driver’s insurance provider must pay the claim.

It doesn’t matter whether the injured driver is the victim in the accident or the cause. They can file for coverage regardless, without having to prove who caused the accident.

While this ensures that the claim gets paid, there is a catch; the injured driver cannot sue for additional damage.

Is California a No-Fault State?

Technically, no, California is not a no-fault state.

While an injured driver can still file a claim to the other driver’s insurance and that claim will have to be paid, it doesn’t end there. Drivers in California do still retain their right to sue for additional damages, according to Los Angeles car accident attorneys.

lady justice with gavel and open law book

No-Fault vs At-Fault Insurance

The purpose of the no-fault system is to decrease the cost of auto insurance by eliminating small claims from the court system, according to the Insurance Information Institute.  Through this kind of insurance, each insurance company compensates its policyholder for minor injuries regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

Many states have revised laws, so this process is easier for innocent victims. This frequently allows the victim who was not at fault in the accident to be released from the responsibility of showing the other driver was at fault for the accident before they can receive compensation. This is referred to as personal injury protection in the no-fault insurance policy.

In an at-fault state, such as California, each insurance company pays for the damages sustained according to the degree of fault of each party. The motorist who caused the accident is responsible for the damages to whoever was injured. His or her insurance company will pay the injured victim but if the insured individual doesn’t agree with the amount of payout, he or she can file a lawsuit and seek uncompensated damages.

To help prove your case and to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve, it’s important to hire an experienced car accident attorney.

What to Do if You’re Involved in an Accident

Because California isn’t a true no-fault state, you do have the option to sue if you’re involved in a no-fault accident that you feel the other driver caused.

To navigate complex driving laws and complicated insurance requirements, you need professional help. Contact us today to see how we can help you get the compensation that you deserve.

The Barnes Firm always urges drivers to exercise extreme caution on the roads, regardless of fault or no-fault laws. If you have already experienced an accident or injury due to a car accident in California, an experienced car accident attorney can help you get compensation for things like:

  • Medical bills
  • lost wages
  • pain and suffering
  • transportation costs
  • rehabilitation
  • and more

For more information on receiving compensation for a car accident injury, contact The Barnes Firm to for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney in Los Angeles, San Diego, or the Bay Area.

The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000