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Who Pays If I’m Injured Or My Car Is Damaged?

That depends on who is at fault, whether you and the other driver have insurance and what kind of insurance you have. There are two major types of automobile insurance: liability and collision.

  • Liability. If you are to blame for an accident, your liability insurance will pay the other driver for property damage and personal injuries up to your policy’s limits.
  • If you are not at fault, the other driver’s liability insurance pays for your car damage and/or personal injuries up to the policy limits of the other driver’s policy.
  • In California, if you and the other driver both have car damage or injuries and you both are partly responsible for the accident, you each may be able to collect part of your loss, but not all of it. How much each of you collects from the other’s policy (or from each other’s assets if there is no insurance) depends on the amount of your damages and on how much each of you is at fault. If you loan your car to someone who has an accident, your insurance can also help pay for the damages.
  • Collision. No matter who is at fault, your collision insurance pays for damages to your car (not your medical expenses), minus the policy deductible.

You may have other insurance, too. Your health insurance, for example, may pay your medical bills. Also, your automobile insurance may have medical payments coverage. If so, it can pay the cost of necessary medical treatment for you and your passenger up to the medical payment policy limits.