Understanding the Los Angeles Car Insurance Laws

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Many accident victims often ask, is Los Angeles a no fault state? Los Angeles is not a “no-fault” state. It follows the traditional “fault” system in resolving financial liability for damages arising from an auto accident, including lost income, injuries, property damages and so on. Meaning, the at-fault party is liable for the resulting injuries – so technically, the insurance provider of the responsible party will take care of these losses, up to policy limits.

If you are a victim of an auto accident, you may proceed in one of these three ways:

You may file a claim with your own insurance company if your loss is covered under the policy. In which case, your insurance carrier will pursue a subrogation claim against the insurance company of the responsible party.

  • You may file a third-party lawsuit directly with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, or
  • You may file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the responsible driver

If you are involved in a major accident in Los Angeles, you have all these options open for you. But if it were in a “no-fault” state like Florida, you wouldn’t have similar range of choices. After a wreck in a no-fault state, the victim is responsible for filing a claim with their insurance provider to receive compensation for the losses, irrespective of who was at fault.

But either way, the process of filing a lawsuit can be daunting and complicated, especially since you are already shaken up from the accident, and you don’t have an understanding of law. Besides, insurance companies won’t have your best interest at heart. If anything, they are in it for business, and paying you doesn’t align with their bottom line. That’s why it’s often recommended that you work with a reputable car accident lawyer who will help you navigate through the entire process, and to recover the losses and expenses.

Car insurances requirement in Los Angeles

The state mandates you to hold liability car insurance that meets these minimums:

  • $5,000 for property damage for an accident caused by the driver/owner of the insured car
  • $30,000 for all personal injury or death liability in a wreck caused by driver/owner of the insured vehicle
  • $15,000 for personal injury or death of a single person in an wreck caused by the driver/owner of the insured vehicle

Statute of limitation

You have two years from the accident date to file your personal injury, product liability or wrongful death lawsuit. Otherwise, the court will dismiss the suit irrespective of its merits. But you’ll have three years to submit your claim for property damage. This time limitation prevents victims from forcing the at-fault parties from defending themselves from incidents they might not remember clearly.

Talk to a lawyer

Although you can file a claim on your own, getting legal help from experienced car accident attorneys in Los Angeles can be pretty invaluable, especially if you are unsure of how to go about the process. One of the great things about lawyering up is that you get to save time, money and other intangibles. Remember, there may be aspects of law that insurers leave unsolved – a lawyer will always be there to defend your interests.