No-Fault Truck Accidents
California No-Fault Commercial Truck Accident Insurance and Laws
Fault in a truck accident is generally determined by negligence. In other words, whose negligence caused the accident — was it the motorist, the truck driver, or other circumstances? And most importantly, what if unpredictable conditions, such as an animal on the road or harsh weather conditions, cause a vehicle or a commercial truck to swerve off the road? When it is unclear as to who is responsible for a truck accident, or if the at-fault party is an inanimate object, insurance companies may not want to pay out the full amount you deserve.
Below, our experienced truck accident attorneys will discuss what happens when no one is at-fault for a truck accident. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a truck accident in California, West Coast Trial Lawyers is always here to answer any questions you may have about claims and damages.
California is a non-no-fault state. This means that the state requires drivers to prove their innocence, while the responsible party is forced to pay for their involvement in the accident. This usually ends up happening in court, as the two parties will sue each other and force the blame of burden on one another. Once you’ve proven the negligence of the other party, you can receive financial compensation for your damages.
No-fault insurance is a specific type of car insurance coverage that assists with making payments to you and for your passengers’ medical bills if you are injured in a car collision, regardless of who’s at-fault. This may also be labeled as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay.
PIP isn’t available in all states. However, it is required in some and it is optional in the remaining others. The extent of coverage depends on what state it is in. California is currently not included as a no-fault state and MedPay, or PIP, is optional.
California Auto Insurance Laws
In order to drive legally in California, you are required to maintain a specific amount of insurance. The minimum liability limits include:
- $15,000 for body injuries to one individual in a collision.
- $30,000 for body injuries to more than one individual in a collision.
- $5,000 for property damages caused by the collision.
Drivers are expected to contact their local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to notify them that they are withholding a substantial amount of insurance coverage. If you happen to cancel your insurance, the insurance company will inform the DMV and your vehicle registration will be suspended until you buy a new insurance policy along with showing evidence of that insurance.
It is highly recommended that drivers in California buy more than the required minimum insurance. This may not cover all the expenses included if you are at-fault for the accident. However, if you have access to additional coverage, you don’t have to worry about this.
For example, if you get into an accident with a vehicle that’s worth $20,000 and your liability insurance is $10,000, then you are required to pay the rest of the amount as out-of-pocket. By acquiring higher limits and extra insurance, you can get the protection you may need for situations like this.
Examples of No-Fault Accidents
Proving the burden of responsibility in a car accident can be a strenuous and long process. Due to the fact that California is a non-no-fault state, many insurance companies will spend a lot of time trying to place blame on the other party.
However, it is only reasonable to believe that in some situations, there may be no one who is at-fault. Listed below are a few examples of how a possible car accident can be no one’s fault:
- Broken traffic lights or incorrect traffic signs.
- Nature’s interference. This can include wild animal crossings, icy roads, or falling branches.
- Damaged roads.
Does a No-Fault Accident Go on Your Record?
Unfortunately, every accident you are involved in goes on your record. How it affects your insurance policy, however, depends on the specifics of your case. In many circumstances, your insurance policy will be negatively affected by a car collision, whether it is your fault or not.
Who Pays During a No-Fault Collision?
Usually, your insurance company will front the cost of an accident if it is not your fault. However, most of the time they will take away the deductible. Your car insurance deductible is what you agree to pay out-of-pocket in case of an accident. Depending on your insurance policy, the amount can vary. If it is later determined that another driver is at-fault, your deductible can be returned to you.
Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.
Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help
If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a truck accident, an attorney at our firm can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call West Coast Trial Lawyers today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.