How Does Car Insurance Work When You Are Not At Fault

When you are not at fault in a car accident, the at fault driver’s insurance should cover the damage to your vehicle and your medical bills.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Is California a No-Fault State?

California is known as an at-fault state for car insurance. This means that if an individual is injured in a car accident, he or she may sue both the at-fault driver and their car insurance company for compensation to cover the losses.

What happens if an individual is at fault for an accident? If so, he or she is responsible for the damages of anyone who was injured in the accident. The other driver has the right to file a claim to get a settlement for their losses. This is the case for anyone injured in an car accident that is not at fault. In most circumstances, an individual’s car insurance will cover expenses that an individual is liable for as the at-fault driver – though the extent of this depends on one’s plan.

What Leads to a Driver Being Determined At-Fault?

The following are some examples of negligent behavior that can lead to a driver being declared at-fault for an accident:

  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Refusing to yield
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving while tired
  • Illegally passing
  • Driving on the sidewalk
  • Failing to use a turn signal

If a driver makes one of the above errors and causes a crash, then he or she will be declared at fault for the accident and their car insurance must pay compensation to any injured victims. The not at fault party also has to report the car accident to their car insurance company.

In some car accidents, it may not be obvious which driver is not at fault. An experienced car insurance lawyer will be able to collect evidence, looking at dash cam and surveillance video and speaking to witnesses. Using these strategies, a car accident injury lawyer may be able to determine if you’re not at fault.

How Does Car Insurance Work When an Individual Is Not at Fault?

When an individual is not at fault for an accident, the other driver’s car insurance should cover the victim’s medical bills and car damage, up to the limits of their policy. If it is not easy to determine fault right away, then an individual may file a car accident claim with their car insurance, which will try to get repayment from the other driver’s insurance. In most states. An individual not at fault should file injury claims with the at-fault driver’s car insurance company. No-fault states, however, require than an individual use their own car insurance to pay for medical bills.

If the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, then an individual not at fault can file a claim with their own car insurance an uninsured motorist claim. Depending on car insurance policy, they may have coverage that applies if the other driver’s liability limits are not high enough to pay for all the damage.

If the compensation is still not sufficient to cover a victim’s injuries, then he or she may hire a car accident injury lawyer to pursue a fair settlement.

What Are an Individual’s Rights After a Car Accident?

Every car insurance adjuster is going to try to minimize a financial settlement. This is against a victim’s best interests. Matters can get infinitely more complicated when opposing lawyers become involved. After an accident, it is important that an individual speak with a car accident injury attorney for guidance.

To protect a claim, an individual not at fault should keep the following in mind:

  • Never accept a first settlement offer, for whatever amount. A car accident injury attorney can review the offer and assess whether it is fair.
  • Never accept medical advice from the insurance company. It is important to visit one’s own doctor for a legitimate, unbiased evaluation of one’s injuries.
  • Never give a recorded statement to the insurance company. A car accident injury lawyer should handle all communications on one’s behalf.
  • Never give the insurance company access to one’s private medical history. A car accident injury attorney can help you determine what information to give the car insurance company.

Should a Person Hire a Lawyer for an Accident That Isn’t Their Fault?

An individual not at fault should hire a car accident injury lawyer if they were involved in an accident, even if they were not at fault. An individual not at fault must assume that things may not work out in their favor, and they may have to prove that they did not do anything wrong. An experienced car accident injury lawyer can help make sure that the responsible party car insurance pays for any damages than an individual has suffered. A car accident injury lawyer can also help an individual not at fault proceed through the process of dealing with the car insurance company. If the other driver was at fault, then their car insurance company will try to trick the victim into making statements that may lower the value of their claim. They may also try to push a settlement that is less than the amount of an individual’s losses. An experienced car accident injury law can help a driver not at fault prevent low ball settlement.

What Types of Compensation Are Available After a Car Accident?

When an individual not at fault that was involved in a car accident and sustains injuries, he or she not only has to deal with the fallout of those injuries, but also the emotional toll of such an incident. In addition to these physical and emotional costs of the accident, he or she also has to worry about how they will pay for medical bills, car repairs, and other expenses. Car accident injury lawyer can help an individual not at fault get their life back on track.

With personal injury cases, a victim in a lawsuit is usually granted compensatory damages, which are meant to make up for the losses that an individual sustained in an accident. There are two types of compensatory damages that a not at fault driver can pursue after a car accident: economic and non-economic.

What Are Economic Damages?

An individual not at fault may receive economic damages for any kind of monetary losses they endured as a result of the car accident. These losses may include medical bills, vehicle damages, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages are meant to compensate an individual for the pain and suffering they experienced as the result of an accident. This money is meant to make up for any emotional impact the accident has left on one’s life. These damages may include PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

It can be difficult to quantify non-economic damages, even though this kind of damage can have serious and lasting impacts after a terrible crash.

Can Someone Sue If They Weren’t Injured in a Car Accident?

If an individual not at fault was not injured in a car accident, then he or she cannot file a personal injury claim. For an individual not at fault to have grounds for filing a personal injury suit, he or she would need to prove that the other party’s negligence or wrongdoing caused observable injuries or damages. That said, a car accident that does not result in physical injuries can still cause serious damage to a vehicle. This may cause an individual to face serious financial hardship and challenges when it comes to traveling, commuting, and simply getting around.

If an individual not at fault was not injured in a crash, but their vehicle suffered extensive damage, he or she may file a claim through their insurance company (assuming they have the appropriate coverage). They may also file a claim against the at-fault party’s car insurance company. Property damage claims tend to be simpler than personal injury claims. Usually, people can file and resolve these claims on their own, without the assistance of an attorney.

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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