Auto Accident Lawyer in Beverly Hills, CA
California auto accidents can lead to life changing injuries and even death. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident it is important that you discuss the case with an experienced auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. The auto accident laws in California will have an impact on the way you can file your claim. It’s vital that you have an understanding of how fault is determined, the obligations you have as a driver, and what items can impact whether or not you can receive compensation for your injuries.
When you have come to the realization that you need to file a lawsuit in order to obtain compensation for your injuries, it’s in your best interest to speak to a vehicle accident lawyer at your convenience. Contact the office of Fleitman Law at 310-399-2889 to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.
What are the Financial Requirements Under California Law for Auto Accidents?
California law requires drivers licensed by the state and vehicles registered by the state to have some form of financial coverage. The easiest way to satisfy this legal requirement is to purchase an auto insurance policy for every vehicle you own. California requires minimum coverage that helps to cover property damage and personal injury resulting from vehicle accidents. All registered vehicles must have the following minimum coverage in order to be considered legal in California:
- $15,000 for the death of one person or injury to one person
- $30,000 for the death of more than one person or injury to more than one person
- $5,000 for any property damage caused in the accident
You must always be able to provide valid proof of auto insurance when driving on the roads of California. Proof of insurance must be shown when applying for vehicle registration, when involved in an accident, and when requested by law enforcement officers.
What is Underinsured/Uninsured Auto Coverage?
California law also requires your auto insurance company to provide you with underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. This additional coverage helps provide you compensation should you be involved in an accident with a driver who is either underinsured or does not have any auto insurance coverage. California drivers are not legally required to have this coverage on their policies. However, if you wish to decline this coverage you must do so in writing so your insurance company has proof that it was offered to you.
Underinsured motorist coverage will help make up the difference in compensation should you be involved in an accident with a motorist who does not have enough coverage to handle your claim. Uninsured motorist coverage will help pay for the damages you and your passengers suffer in an accident with a motorist who does not have any coverage. There is a limit though and it’s the value of the liability coverage on your own insurance policy.
Requirements for Reporting a California Car Accident
You have a legal obligation to report a car accident in California if the accident resulted in $1,000 or more of property damage or results in bodily injury. These types of accidents must be reported within 10 days to the California Department of Motor Vehicles by you, your insurance company, or your vehicle accident lawyer.
The SR-1 Form
The paperwork used to report such an accident is known as Form SR-1 and it must be filed with the DMV. This form must include all the names and addresses of every motorist or passenger involved in the accident who complains of any type of injury. Other information that must be included on the form is as follows:
- Location, date, and time of the crash
- The personal information for all drivers involved
- The personal information of the person filing the form
- The insurance information for all motorists involved
- An explanation of the damages and injuries
Rules of the Road When Merging Onto a California Highway
The majority of accidents occur because a driver does not merge properly when entering a California highway or does not exit the highway correctly. There is a doctrine of preemption in California that requires all vehicles entering highways yield to any and all oncoming traffic. All drivers must yield when entering a highway. When they deem that there is enough time to enter the flow of traffic the driver can then do so. Once on the highway, other drivers must then yield to the vehicle to prevent potential harm.
California Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
An auto accident lawyer from Fleitman Law will be able to explain in detail the statute of limitations for California car accidents and how it affects your ability to file a lawsuit for compensation. The statute of limitations differs based on the claim you are filing.
If you are filing a claim for bodily injury you have two years from the date that the crash occurred to file your claim. If you are filing a claim for property damage you have three years from the date that the crash occurred.
The statute of limitations can be extended under certain circumstances and they are as follows:
- There has been a delay of reasonable length in the development of an injury related to the car accident
- It has been challenging locating the defendant
- The defendant is currently in prison
- At the time of the accident, the victim was either disabled or a minor
Comparative Fault in a California Car Crash
California operates under the idea of comparative fault when it comes to car accidents. This means that more than one person can be held accountable for a car accident and that the victims of a car accident cannot be prevented from seeking compensation if they are partly to blame for the crash. Basically, this law permits victims of car crashes to recover compensation if they are not entirely to blame for the car accident.
At the same time, the victim of a car accident will have their compensation reduced if they played a role in the crash. This is what’s known as the apportionment of fault. Every driver’s role in the crash will be evaluated to determine their percentage of fault. Once this is determined, the compensation will be handed out based on the results.
What Damages Can I Claim in a California Car Accident?
Suffering an injury or damage to your vehicle in a California car accident means you can seek damages from the other drivers involved. A California auto accident lawyer will be able to provide you with a detailed explanation of these damages. However, you can seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include all of the following:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Burial expenses
- Loss of property usage
- Loss of employment
- Loss of business
- Property repair costs
Non-economic damages include the following:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Injury to your reputation
- Loss of companionship and consortium
Injured in a California Car Accident? Call Fleitman Law Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a California car accident, it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call the office of Fleitman Law at 310-399-2889 today to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.