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What is the Difference Between No-Fault vs. At-Fault Insurance?

Dealing with insurance can be an intimidating process for any driver. If you have been injured in a car accident involving another driver, you may be dealing with injuries, vehicle repairs, and an insurance claim.

You may have heard of no-fault and at-fault insurance. What is the difference between no-fault versus at-fault insurance? 

When involved in a car accident, the type of insurance you and the other driver have can greatly impact the claims process. What is the difference between no-fault and at-fault insurance, and how does the state of California navigate the insurance process for injured drivers?

What is At-Fault Insurance?

At-fault insurance is what many drivers are required as a state law in California. This type of insurance is used to cover the damages the insured may cause to another driver and/or passengers. 

The state of California has a minimum liability insurance coverage requirement. These include: 


  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage


These minimum amounts are used to cover medical expenses and other damages after an accident. Drivers may choose to purchase more coverage at their discretion. However, California does require these minimum amounts in order for drivers to be at ease on the road. 

California is an at-fault insurance state. In at-fault insurance states, drivers who are involved in car accidents due to another driver’s liability would file an insurance claim with the liable driver’s insurance.

What is No-Fault Insurance? 

No-fault insurance means drivers are required to obtain Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage instead. When involved in a car accident, this coverage can help injured drivers seek the medical assistance they may need. 

No-fault insurance provides coverage to the insured without regard for who was liable in the car accident. The purpose of no-fault insurance is to reduce auto-insurance cost by removing small claims from the court system. 

Some may also argue that no-fault insurance can allow injured drivers to pay for their own medical expenses faster. Without having the additional burden of proving the fault of the other driver, the injured individual may be able to access compensation faster. 

Some no-fault states include Florida, Kansas, New York, New Jersey, and more. 

Though no-fault insurance provides coverage in the case of an accident, some states do allow injured drivers to pursue compensation from the other liable parties. This would occur in the case of very severe injuries.

What are the Main Differences Between No-Fault and At-Fault Insurances? 

One of the main differences between these insurances is liability. At-fault insurance requires injured drivers to provide proof of liability of the insured driver they are opening a claim with. At-fault insurance usually takes a little longer to pay out than no-fault insurance. Not to mention, lowball offers are common from at-fault insurance companies as well. 

No-fault insurance does provide faster compensation without forcing the driver to prove liability. However, no-fault insurance often has a maximum compensation amount. No-fault insurance will only pay up to the policy limit, which may cover medical expenses and some repairs. When it comes to further damages, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, incidental costs, and more, the no-fault insurance will usually not cover it. 

How Does Insurance Affect My Claim?

After a car accident in California, you may be filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance. Because most insurance companies are looking to give the smallest payout possible, you will want to be sure to give a detailed account of the accident to prove the other driver’s liability. 

It is recommended injured drivers speak to personal injury lawyers when dealing with insurance. Many personal injury lawyers can provide representation and even speak to the insurance adjusters on your behalf. 

If you are not satisfied with the amount of compensation the insurance company is offering, a lawsuit may be necessary. A personal injury lawyer can help with gathering evidence, the negotiation process, and more. Dealing with at-fault insurance companies can be an overwhelming process, so having the proper legal representation can help.

How Can Fault Be Proven? 

If you are dealing with at-fault insurance after a California car accident, the key is to be able to determine fault. 

Some ways fault can be proven include: 


Photo and Video Evidence

Taking detailed photos and videos at the scene of the accident. Be sure to take pictures/videos of both vehicles, the road, and your injuries. Photo and video evidence can make a difference when it comes to supporting your claim. 

Calling the Police

Be sure to call the police after the accident, even if the other driver(s) involved do not want to. Police officers will create a report of the accident that may even name the liable party as well.

Getting Medical Attention 

Some at-fault insurance companies may use a delay in medical attention as reasoning to deny or lower your compensation amount. Do not delay medical treatment for any visible or non-visible injuries, as this can also be detrimental to your health. 

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer

Consulting with a personal injury lawyer may be the next crucial step when it comes to your personal injury claim. Many lawyers have the experience of dealing with insurance companies, whether it comes to speaking with adjusters, writing a letter of demand, negotiation, etc. Talk to a personal injury attorney about your case. 

File a Claim ASAP 

If you are filing an insurance claim, you will want to get it done as soon as possible. Insurance claims are not meant to be delayed. Getting your account of the accident to the at-fault insurance quickly will kickstart the compensation process. 

Though working with the insurance of another driver can be intimidating, it does not have to be. All you need is to have the right evidence, be straightforward in your answers, and not claim any fault. Insurance companies often look to provide as little compensation as possible, but you must determine the value of your claim and fight for the compensation you are rightfully owed. 

A personal injury attorney can help you determine the value of your case if you are unsure. This can help you from accepting a lowball offer from insurance companies. 

Are You Ready to Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney? 

California is an at-fault state, which means injured drivers can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance. Though the claims process with an at-fault insurance can sometimes feel overwhelming or tedious, injured drivers are owed rightful compensation. 

Are you filing a claim with insurance? Has the insurance continuously lowballed you? Has your claim been denied? Do you have a strong case? These and other questions can be answered when you sit down to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. 

You should not delay speaking to a San Diego personal injury lawyer. Though the insurance claims process can be long at times, it is necessary. You do not want to pay for any damages out of your own pocket. 

Whether you are dealing with an insurance company for the first time or you are prepared to go to court over a settlement, a personal injury attorney can help. Speak to one of our trusted lawyers now!


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