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4 Facts About California Civil Code and Your Insurance

    3 minute read

    California has countless laws about cars; how they are driven, how they are handled, and who is responsible for what in the event of an accident. But exactly what you can be held accountable for in a collision might surprise you. Here are four unexpected facts about accident liability that you may not know about, courtesy of the California Civil and Vehicle Codes.

    4 Surprising Facts You Should Know

    1. You Cannot Collect On Most Types of Damages If You Are Uninsured

    If you are in an accident and don’t have current vehicle insurance, you may be able to get your medical bills paid for or have your car repaired or replaced if you are not determined to be at fault. However, if you were looking to be compensated for your pain and suffering, disfigurement, or any inconveniences resulting from the accident, it is likely not going to happen. Under California Civil Code Section 3333.4, uninsured drivers are not permitted to collect on any non-monetary damages except under very specific circumstances.

    2. If You Are in an Accident, You Only Have Two Years to Take the Other Driver to Court

    It seems a bit surprising that the lawsuit clock begins ticking almost the second an accident occurs, but it does. Under California’s Code of Civil Procedure, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file any a bodily injury suit against the other involved party or parties.

    3. If an Adult Gives Alcohol to Someone Who Is Under Age, He or She May Be Responsible for an Alcohol Related Accident

    Granted, an adult should not be giving a teenager alcohol in the first place, but if an adult provides alcoholic beverages to a person not of legal drinking age and that person gets into an accident, the adult can be held liable. Under Civil Code Section 1714, it is a willful act of negligence to give alcohol to minors, and the offender will be prosecuted accordingly.

    This does not mean that the youngster driving the car is off the hook, though. It will still affect his/her insurance and driving record.

    person trying to open car door
    Image courtesy of FrameAngel /

    4. Leaving Your Door Open, Even at a Full Stop, Is Against the Law

    We often check our mirror to open a door when parked next to the flow of traffic, then time our quick exit from the vehicle. Section 22517 of the California Vehicle Code states that you can only leave a door open for as long as it takes for a passenger to get into or out of the vehicle. And no, leaving your emergency flashers on will not exempt you from the rule.

    These few facts can help you understand aspects of auto insurance that most of us may not consider. If you have questions, it is always best to speak with licensed agent to be sure you have the facts. Auto Insurance Specialists can help – give us a call today!

    The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. Auto Insurance Specialists, LLC makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.