After you’ve been involved in an auto accident, it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of steps and actions you need to take in order to get your life back on track. As you navigate your physical recovery, unanticipated medical expenses, damage to your vehicle, and other consequences of the accident, you also need to handle matters with your insurance company. Terms like “serious injury threshold” may crop up as you search for what steps to take after a car accident in California, and you may feel confused and stressed about all of these unfamiliar words and phrases. Let’s take a closer look at what this particular term means, why it is not relevant to California residents, and what you should focus on instead following an auto accident.
Understanding the Serious Injury Threshold
Many states, including Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Hawaii, and several others, are considered “no-fault” states. After an auto accident in one of these no-fault states, you usually pursue a personal injury claim against your insurance company, as your no-fault insurance coverage will be used to cover the damages. However, there is a limit to the amount of damages you can pursue—which varies from state to state—and if your injuries exceed the serious injury threshold, you may decide to file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover additional compensation.
California is a Pure Comparative Negligence State
It’s important to recognize that California is not a no-fault state, which means the serious injury threshold is not applicable. Instead, it operates on the principle of pure comparative negligence. This means that the parties involved in an auto accident all carry some degree of responsibility, so the degree to which you are at fault impacts the amount of damages you are entitled to receive. FOr instance, if you are seeking $200,000 in damages, but it’s determined that you are 25 percent at-fault for the accident, you are only entitled to recover $150,000.
If you are struggling in the aftermath of a California auto accident, you should reach out to an experienced auto accident lawyer who can help you understand the best path forward. Let your attorney handle the communications and negotiations with the insurance companies, the other parties involved in the accident, and their legal representation while you focus on what matters most—your recovery.
For trusted legal guidance after an auto accident in the Temecula or Murrieta area, reach out to the dedicated legal team at Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation by calling (951) 489-3320 today.