Current California Traffic Accident Laws

People depend on their cars in California, particularly in Southern California. For this reason, residents here need to know current laws concerning their rights when it comes to automotive accidents, and which attorneys can help them.

Californians have legal time limits or must adhere to a Statute of Limitations when filing a lawsuit after a car accident. According to Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. 335.1, one must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the accident, and within
three years for filing a lawsuit for property damage (such as vehicle damage).

One should file an insurance claim as soon as possible after the accident, in order to protect one’s rights.

A different set of rules apply if the accident involved the government in any way (i.e., a city bus rear-ended one’s car collided with a public bus, or the accident occurred on government property). As long as the negligent party acted within the scope of his or her government function, a government agency or entity must take responsibility for the acts of its employees. Under the California Tort Claims Act, the injured person must file a claim with the agency or entity that employs the negligent person; however, one may not make a claim against the employee directly.

In a collision, California law allows one to receive compensation from any other at-fault party, regardless of one’s own degree of fault. However, one’s degree of fault does determine how much compensation one will receive, making California a “pure comparative negligence” state. For example, One’s car gets side-swiped by a vehicle whose driver made an unsafe lane change. However, the injured party also happens to have exceeded the speed limit. The court may deem the speeder to be only 15 percent at fault, and the lane-changer 85 percent at fault, thereby determining the compensation received by the injured party. State courts will follow this law in a court-based lawsuit, and insurance claim adjusters will look to these rules when figuring out the worth of your claim.

A California personal injury attorney will help clarify one’s rights in the case that one gets injured in a traffic accident.

For more information on current California traffic accident law and listings of attorneys that help with personal injury or property damage claims, please look at the following websites: