There are few things worse than getting involved in a car accident. You may be injured, and your automobile is likely to be damaged. It is not uncommon to need surgery, and you might have to go to the doctor more than once. You may have to deal with painful physical therapy, miss days, or even weeks away from your job. Injuries can also cause you to miss family events.
The stress from an accident will be compounded if you are partially at fault for the collision. Not only do you have to worry about your injuries, but you may also have to deal with the legal expenses of a traffic violation.
You have probably wondered if you will be able to get any insurance money for your injuries. If you live in the state of California, you will be able to make an insurance claim even if you are partially to blame for a crash.
Insurance Laws in The United States
According to this website, there are two different kinds of insurance rules in the United States; fault (or tort) and no-fault.
In a fault state, the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident will pay for the expenses related to the crash. In a no-fault state, a person's own insurance company will pay for their medical bills and damage to their property, no matter who is to blame for the collision.
Pure Comparative Fault in California
California is a fault state and has a pure comparative fault rule. That means each party is responsible for the percentage of the accident that they caused. For example, if you are 90% at fault, you may file a claim for 10% of your expenses with the other driver's insurance company.
California has very liberal laws compared to other states. The majority of fault states follow a modified comparative fault rule that says that if a person is over 50% responsible for an accident, they will not file a claim with the other driver's insurance company.
Filing a Claim
Insurance companies in the Golden State are not thrilled with pure comparative fault, and they may try to find a way out of paying you your due.
They could say that pre-existing conditions exacerbated your injuries, or they may try to claim that you took time off work for personal reasons that were not related to the accident. They have been known to say that claimants are exaggerating about pain and suffering.
If an insurance company denies your claim or offers you a paltry settlement, you should hire a personal injury attorney.
What to Look for in a Lawyer
A trained attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. They will have years of experience in dealing with insurance adjusters and lawyers. The law firm that you select should specialize in California accident law and have an outstanding reputation with the state bar association.
Getting injured in an accident is not fun. However, if you understand insurance laws in California and hire an attorney who is well-versed in personal injury matters, you will have a good chance of getting the money you need to move on with your life.