Is California a no-fault state? You may have heard that there are some U.S. states where investigators don’t apply fault to any of the drivers involved in a car accident. Well, California isn’t one of them.
It’s important to understand how this applies to bicycle accident law, especially in cities like L.A, Frisco, and San Diego, where bicycles are nearly as common as cars. When a two-ton car and a thirty-pound bike meet, it’s pretty obvious who’ll get the raw end of the deal. Even if no one sustains injuries, everyone involved in such an accident will have a lot of questions about fault and insurance.
How Do No-Fault States Work?
Minority no-fault states basically make it easy on everyone except the insurance companies. Investigators assign no blame to anyone involved, so it doesn’t matter who’s responsible for the accident; insurers pay for any valid claim. Why is blame so important in other states, including ours? Because insurance companies want to clearly establish who’s at fault so they can limit their payouts. Never forget, an insurance company is a for-profit organization! No-fault states hurt their profits.
What If My Accident Involved an 18-Wheeler?
When it comes to establishing fault, it doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle was involved in your accident. However, because those who drive 18-wheelers do so for a living, we tend to hold them to a higher standard than everyday drivers. As such, they may end up with a larger share of the blame, as we expect them to be more self-aware than most drivers and cyclists.
Some courts, however, are a bit leery about bicyclists, so keep in mind that this can also work against you. The judges involved may believe, with some justification, that many bicyclists don’t feel the need to follow the same traffic laws as everyone else. As a result, they get in more accidents, with more damaging results. So when you go to court, make sure you have the right bicycle accident lawyer representing you.
What If I Did Something That Contributed to the Accident?
Whatever happened, you still need a good attorney to represent you. One thing you should never do is accept blame or apologize for the accident to anyone involved, or any witnesses. Fact is, after an accident you may feel seriously disoriented and injured. You may not even know for sure what happened, or who was to blame. In on other words, you may not have caused or contributed to the accident… even if you think you did. Whatever happened, be honest with your attorney when you speak with them.
Here’s the deal. When investigators assign blame, they rarely assign full blame to one person. In the end, investigators may find you 90%, 75% 50% or even 0% at fault. Even if you receive 99% of the blame, you may still receive compensation.
What If You Don’t Have Insurance?
Bicycle insurance is nowhere near as common as auto insurance. Motorists cause most bicycle accidents anyway, so most blame accrues to them.
While it’s a good idea to have Personal Injury Protection for bicycling, you can still file a third-party claim against the motorist. You can also make a claim against your health insurance.
Is California a No-Fault State? No, But We Can Still Help With Your Case
Michael Stephenson at Los Angeles Bicycle Law is an expert in the field of bicycle accident law. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a motorist while riding your bicycle, call us today. We’ll provide a free consultation, and will be able to tell how we can help you with your case.