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California Car Accident Laws

Los Angeles, fondly known as the City of Angels, is connected by a complex web of roads and  highways such as Interstate 5, U.S. Route 101 and Interstate 10. Although navigating these routes safely can be a daunting challenge, all drivers must adhere to a variety of traffic laws that are designed to protect the public. Nonetheless, accidents in and around the city are far too common, often resulting in severe injuries and death.

J&Y Law Firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of car accident victims in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California. We are well versed in local and state traffic laws, as well as the related personal injury laws, and have a proven track record of helping our clients obtain meaningful compensation.

What are a driver’s responsibilities?

All drivers in Los Angeles have a duty to exercise a reasonable amount of care to avoid injuring others. In this regard, drivers must obey traffic laws, drive in a safe and responsible manner, and pay attention to road conditions.

Additionally, in the event of a car accident in L.A., all drivers are required to stop and check to see if anyone has been injured. In fact, under state law, in accidents in which someone has been injured or killed, drivers must immediately stop at the scene, exchange information, and give reasonable assistance to anyone who has been injured. The accident must also be reported to the Los Angeles Police Department or the California Highway Patrol within 24 hours.

Liability in a Los Angeles Car Accident

Though it’s been said that accidents happen, most car accidents in Los Angeles are typically the result of driver negligence. In particular, negligence arises when a driver breaches his or her duty to act with reasonable care and causes harm to another person. Someone who is deemed to be negligent is liable for the other person’s losses, including economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages compensate car accident victims for financial losses, such as lost wages, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and property damage. Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are designed to compensate car accident victims for pain and suffering.

It is important to note that California uses a system pure comparative negligence to determine liability in a car accident case. This means that each person who is found to be at fault for a car accident is liable for a portion of the fault.

In an accident involving two drivers in which one runs a stop sign and the other fails to use a directional, for example, the first driver may be 80 percent at fault while the second is 20 percent at fault. If the second driver’s losses were assessed at $100,000, his or her damages would be reduced by 20 percent to $80,000. Similarly, the second driver would be liable for 20 percent of the first driver’s losses.

In sum, a person who fails to exercise a reasonable level of care when driving may be deemed to be at fault for an accident in Los Angeles. Examples of negligence include disobeying traffic laws and signals, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, among others.

Car Insurance

If you register a car in California you are required to have have automobile insurance. Moreover, you must carry evidence of insurance in your vehicle at all times and it must be provided when requested by law enforcement or if the vehicle is involved in a traffic accident. Under California Insurance Code (§11580.1b), the minimum liability insurance requirements for private passenger vehicles are follows:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property

Liability insurance compensates an individual other than the policyholder for personal injury or property damage arising from a motor vehicle accident. Because an injury claim often involves negotiating with an insurance company, it is crucial to have an experienced car accident attorney in your corner.

Contact J&Y Law Firm Today

Being involved in a car accident in Los Angeles can be an overwhelming experience. In addition to coping with injuries and property damage, dealing with an insurance company can add layers of frustration to the situation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help to lift that burden and help you get back on your feet.

At J&Y Law Firm, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of car accident victims. We are knowledgeable in California’s traffic laws and the rules regarding comparative negligence. Our attorneys engage in detailed and intricate negotiations with insurance companies to reach fair and reasonable settlements. At the same time, we are comfortable pursuing cases in the courts if the need arises.

Over our many years of practice, we have earned a reputation providing our clients with aggressive legal representation and  a superior level of personal service. We are always available to respond to questions and concerns and answer all calls promptly. Our guiding principle is to always put our client’s best interests first. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.