In the United States, we have what is called fault insurance states and no-fault insurance states. If you’re not a native of California and you moved from a no-fault insurance state, such as Oregon, Utah, Kansas, Arkansas, Florida, or New York, for example, you may not be familiar with our fault-based insurance laws.
California is a fault insurance state, so what does this mean to drivers who need to file a car accident claim? It means California drivers are responsible for the accidents they cause. So, if you were to be involved in a crash that was not your fault, you would file a third party claim (a claim against someone else’s auto insurance) with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier.
What is No-Fault Insurance?
If you lived in a no-fault insurance state, and you were in a car accident that was not your fault, you would file a first party claim (a claim against your own auto insurance) with your own insurance company, which would in turn pay for your medical bills, regardless of the fact that you were not at-fault. Another term for no-fault insurance is Personal Injury Protection or PIP. But remember, California follows the fault-based system.
If you’re in an accident that is not your fault in the Sacramento Area, follow these steps:
- Call the police so they can file a police report.
- Get the other driver’s contact information, insurance information, license plate number, and driver license number.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses.
- Take lots of photos of the accident scene, if you can do so safely.
- Be respectful and polite, but don’t tell anyone, including the other driver, the police, or the insurance company that the crash was your fault.
- Contact a car accident attorney from our firm at once to protect your rights against a low-ball settlement offer or a denied insurance claim.
- Seek medical attention that day, or no more than 72 hours from the day of the accident.
We invite you to contact Eliot Reiner, APLC to request a consultation with a Sacramento car accident attorney.