Car crashes are a daily occurrence in California, and many of them have minimal consequences for the people involved. Yes, they may need to wait to file a police report and could have a very stressful day after the crash, but life will go on mostly unaltered by the crash.
Some people don’t even have to repair their vehicles after a collision, as the damage is minor and purely cosmetic. In such scenarios, the losses from the crash may be negligible, and there may not even be an insurance claim made by either party.
However, some crashes result in massive property damage, possibly leaving a vehicle unsafe to drive in the future. Other collisions may result in permanent injuries or someone dying. For those more seriously affected by a California crash, the liability-based insurance system used by the state could result in serious financial hardship.
When will insurance leave someone with large unpaid expenses?
When drivers have very little coverage
It is quite common for drivers, especially low-income adults and new drivers, like teenagers, to have very low insurance coverage on their vehicles. California currently only requires $5,000 to reimburse others for property damage losses.
When people get hurt, there could be just $15,000 when one person gets hurt to cover medical bills and lost wages. When several people get hurt, the state requires at least $30,000 in coverage. Of course, that amount will end up shared among everyone with injuries from the wreck.
If you end up in a collision caused by someone with insurance that barely meets state requirements, you could end up personally paying for numerous collision-related expenses.
When drivers don’t have insurance
Although state law requires liability coverage, the law also imposes a maximum speed at which drivers can travel. People frequently violate the law, and when they don’t have insurance, the other people affected by the crashes that they caused may have few options other than to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
The other driver, their employer or even a manufacturer may have some liability for the crash that could lead to a successful claim for compensation in civil court when insurance won’t cover your costs. Learning more about your options after a major motor vehicle crash can help you hold the appropriate party responsible for your financial losses.