Understanding Auto Insurance in California
Once you purchase your auto insurance policy, you may hardly think about it again other than to pay the bill. If, however, you are involved in a car accident, it is important to understand how your insurance works and what the policy covers.
Auto Insurance Basics
California is a “fault” state which means that, unless you have certain types of coverage, your insurance will not pay for your own injuries or property damage. You will need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, presuming he or she was at fault for the accident.
California is also a pure comparative fault state. If there is an accident and one driver is 95 percent at fault and the other driver is 5 percent at fault, they could both sue each other and recover compensation for their injuries. However, their damages would be reduced by their percentage of fault. The driver that is 95% responsible for the accident would have his or her damages reduced by 95 percent. By this standard, you can technically recover compensation for your injuries even if you are 99 percent at fault for the accident, but you would only be entitled to 1 percent of the total calculated damages.
Optional Insurance Coverage
There are several optional types of additional insurance coverage that offers greater protections to policyholders in car accidents. You can buy coverage that will pay you for any property damage to your vehicle, even if you are at fault for the accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policies work in a similar way for drivers that are hurt in a car accident. If maintain PIP coverage, your insurance company will pay cover the costs related to your injuries, even if you caused the accident.
While all drivers are required to have insurance, many drivers fail to take the responsibility seriously. If you are involved in an accident in which the other driver was at fault but does not have auto insurance, you may not be able to recover anything for your property damage or your injuries unless you have an uninsured motorist policy. A related type of coverage is underinsured motorist coverage. This is used when the policy limits of a driver’s coverage are not sufficient to cover all the damage the driver has caused. Many companies combine uninsured and underinsured motorist policies into a single product.
Injured in an Accident?
If you have been injured in any type of auto accident, contact an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer. You may only have a short time to file a claim to be compensated for your injuries. Call 408-286-2300 today to schedule a consultation with Janoff Law and get the guidance you need.