California Car Accident Laws—What Every Driver Needs to Know


With close to 40 million people in California, the Golden State has the largest population in the U.S. For drivers, that means a plethora of rules, regulations, and vehicle codes to follow. Oddly enough, this is actually quite advantageous—how else could law and order be enforced with so many people sharing the road?

New Year, New Laws

Unfortunately, for those who may have recently moved to California, the constantly evolving traffic laws can be rather overwhelming, not to mention confusing. For example, just this year alone, there have been several updates regarding bicycle and pedestrian laws, but a driver entirely unaware of these new laws could easily jeopardize the safety of others.

While it's always a good idea to stay up-to-date on traffic laws, it's imperative for any driver in California to know a few basic requirements before getting behind the wheel. In this article, we'll discuss car accident laws in California, such as the minimum car insurance coverage drivers must maintain and what this means for accident victims in a comparative-fault -state. However, if you've recently been injured in a collision or have questions regarding specific car accident laws, contact a local car accident attorney for proper legal advice.

New Laws in California

Car Insurance Requirements in California

When uninsured drivers are involved in a crash, they automatically start to panic—especially if someone was injured—and frantically begin searching for "the best law firm in Los Angeles" or "car accident lawyers near me." We certainly hope you never find yourself in such a situation, but if you do, contact a car accident law firm as soon as possible. Remember to never admit fault or tell the other party you haven't sustained any injuries, as back and neck pain can take a few days to manifest.

Since laws vary by state, the following are the minimum car insurance requirements California drivers must maintain.

   $15,000 for injury/death to one person.

   $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.

   $5,000 for damage to property.

But what happens when a driver is involved in a car accident without insurance? To better understand, let's first discuss how fault is determined in California after a car accident.

Car Insurance Requirements in California

Determining Fault

As a comparative-fault-state, liability in California is determined by the percentage of fault each party is responsible for. Even if a driver is 99% at fault, they can still claim 1% of the damages. Keep in mind that you can never rely on insurance companies to help you figure this out; however, this is precisely what car accident attorneys are for. An experienced car accident attorney can help you recover economic damages and, in some instances, even non-economic damages as well. In other words, in addition to monetary loss, such as medical bills, victims may also be compensated for pain and suffering caused by the accident, such as psychological trauma. Insurance companies not only try to compensate victims the absolute minimum possible, but they have their own attorneys to make sure it always happens.

Now, let's go back to the question regarding driving without insurance. Earlier, we stated that victims can request economic damages and, in specific instances, non-economic damages as well. However, California law prohibits the recovery of non-economic damages if

   the driver does not have car insurance, or

   the driver is convicted of a DUI

Regardless of your situation and no matter how minor your injuries are, it's always recommended to seek legal advice if you were hurt in an accident. A trusted lawyer can help you understand your legal options because they're willing to fight for your rights.

Determining Fault

Free Case Evaluation

Yepremyan Law Firm, works on a contingency basis for all personal injury matters. Our law firm has been a trusted legal advisor since 1998 and represents clients all over Southern California. We have a dedicated team of attorneys for car accidents, motorcycle accidents, ridesharing, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents. In addition, we offer 24/7 support and provide free consultations to help you learn more about the different ways we can assist you.

Contact our office to speak with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer who can walk you through the legal system and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. 

*No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. These materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice pertaining to any particular legal matter. Use of and access to this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and Yepremyan Law Firm and any of its attorneys, employees, or associates.


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