California Car Accident Laws

california accident laws

When you experience a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed by the chaos it creates.

You might need to seek medical treatment and car repairs while missing days at work.

On top of these stressors, you have to navigate California accident laws, file a claim and negotiate with insurance companies.

If you’re confused about what to do after your California car accident, we can help. First, read this guide to California car accident laws.

We’ll explain things like uninsured motorist coverage, the California statute of limitations, and car accident liability laws. Then, call Starpoint Law for a free consultation if you need help with a car accident claim. 

Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

California requires that all drivers carry a minimum amount of car insurance or show another form of financial responsibility. This protects other drivers who may be injured or experience vehicle damage in a car accident.

However, not all drivers follow California law and carry car insurance. To protect yourself against those drivers, you can add underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage to your car insurance policy. This coverage means that your insurance company will pay your medical bills—up to a set limit—resulting from an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

California law requires all drivers to have car insurance that covers these minimums:

  • Bodily injury or death coverage up to $15,000;
  • Total bodily injury or death coverage for all vehicle occupants up to $30,000; and
  • Property damage coverage up to $5,000.

In addition to these minimum amounts, California drivers can purchase insurance that provides higher amounts of medical benefits.

If a minimally insured driver caused your accident, medical bills could easily exceed covered amounts. In that case, your uninsured or underinsured policy would cover excess medical bills to your policy limit.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations sets the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. This means that you have only a limited amount of time from the date of your car accident to file a lawsuit: 

  • If you are suing for a personal injury sustained in the accident, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit;
  • If someone died from injuries sustained in the car accident, family members have up to two years from the date of the person’s death to file a lawsuit; 
  • If you are suing over vehicle damages, but not injuries or death, then you have three years from the date of the accident to file; and 
  • If a government employee caused your accident, then you have six months to file a lawsuit. 

If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has elapsed, the court will likely dismiss your case. 

It’s smart to file insurance claims as soon as possible after an accident so that you find out what bills insurance won’t cover. Then you can determine whether you need to file a separate claim with your own insurance for underinsured motorist coverage. Additionally, if you’re unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company, you will still have time to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out.

A California Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

If you suffered car accident injuries, you can benefit from legal help. A California car accident attorney can help you negotiate with insurance companies for maximum compensation. 

To find out how to get compensated for your accident injury, call Starpoint Law. We provide our clients with personal, professional legal representation, and we fight for your maximum insurance settlement.

Contact us for a free consultation so we can discuss your auto insurance claim and rights in California. You don’t have to fight the insurance companies alone. Get a skilled legal advocate on your side by contacting Starpoint Law today.

Author Photo

Aidin Ghavimi

Aidin is a partner at Starpoint LC, Attorneys at Law, and focuses on personal injury and employment law cases in and around Southern California. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Loyola School of Law and his Bachelor’s from USC. Aidin’s primary goal is to bring justice to his clients and to ensure they are able to move on with their lives after a serious injury.

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