I filed a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (NRL) with the DMV. Why did I receive a notice?
Submitting an NRL to the DMV does not constitute a transfer of ownership. The vehicle record is not permanently transferred out of your name until the DMV receives a completed application for transfer of ownership and payment of appropriate fees from the new owner.
So You’ve had an accident. What Next?
Detailed information on what to do can be found here.
If I was working at the time of the accident is my employer responsible?
California law (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV§ionNum=2338.#:) states that employers are liable for employees’ mistakes .The allocation of responsibility to the employer is also known as “vicarious liability.” Special liability rules apply to Motor Vehicle use under CA vehicle code (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH§ionNum=17150).
What Does It Mean To Be Underinsured?
It means having insurance coverage but the limits may not be high enough (inadequate) to cover the full expense of a claim. Every state has minimum liability coverage for property damage and bodily injury in order to permit/register a vehicle on the road. These minimums, however, are typically not sufficient enough to cover the costs of repair or medical injury. In such cases you may have to pay out of pocket to cover the difference between the limits of coverage and the actual claim.
Even worse if the other party decides to sue the limits will be used for defense costs instead of repayment making you possibly liable for more. While underinsurance may result in lower premiums the loss arising from a claim may far exceed any marginal savings.
Do I have to report an accident to DMV (SR-1 Form)?
California law (as well as most states) requires traffic accidents on a California street/highway or private property to be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days if there was an injury, death or property damage in excess of $1,000. The law requires the driver to file this SR 1 form (https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/uploads/2020/05/sr1.pdf) with DMV regardless of fault.
Failure to submit the DMV form can result in a suspension of your driver’s license for one year.
There are additional requirements for accident reporting (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?division=10.&chapter=1.&lawCode=VEH)
Do I need to report an Accident to My Insurance Company?
In short, yes; regardless of fault because all Insurance Policies contain a provision called “Duty To Cooperate”.
This provision is based on two concepts: preventing collusion between the insured and the party who created the accident/loss and the second reason is to assist the Insurance Carrier in its investigation, defense of and settlement of a claim or suit. It also enables the Insurance Carrier to obtain relevant information regarding the loss while the information is fresh, to enable it to decide its obligations and to protect itself (and possibly the insured) from fraudulent and false claims. The cooperation clause requires honest cooperation and telling the truth. The duty to cooperate generally extends to providing information to the investigation of the claim, providing testimonial evidence, otherwise cooperating in the defense of the claim and acting in a way so as to not compromise the resolution of the claim. Because this cooperation can be fairly characterized as a “duty” the failure to cooperate can result in a coverage denial and possibly the carrier entirely dropping the policyholder coverage for breach of contract. The best way to prevent a coverage denial is to do what your Insurance Carrier requires without unnecessary delay.
What is Prop 213 and what does it mean if I am Uninsured?
Prop 213 prevents drivers injured in a car accident from obtaining damages for their pain and suffering even when the accident was not their fault if they lack car insurance or the car they were driving was not covered by insurance.
CIVIL CODE – CIV
DIVISION 4. GENERAL PROVISIONS [3274 – 9566]
PART 1. RELIEF [3274 – 3428]
TITLE 2. COMPENSATORY RELIEF [3281 – 3360]
CHAPTER 2. Measure of Damages [[3300.] – 3360]
ARTICLE 2. Damages for Wrongs [3333 – 3343.7]
3333.4. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), in any action to recover damages arising out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle, a person shall not recover non-economic losses to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other nonpecuniary damages if any of the following applies:
(1) The injured person was at the time of the accident operating the vehicle in violation of Section 23152 or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and was convicted of that offense.
(2) The injured person was the owner of a vehicle involved in the accident and the vehicle was not insured as required by the financial responsibility laws of this state.
(3) The injured person was the operator of a vehicle involved in the accident and the operator can not establish his or her financial responsibility as required by the financial responsibility laws of this state.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), an insurer shall not be liable, directly or indirectly, under a policy of liability or uninsured motorist insurance to indemnify for non-economic losses of a person injured as described in subdivision (a).
(c) In the event a person described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) was injured by a motorist who at the time of the accident was operating his or her vehicle in violation of Section 23152 or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and was convicted of that offense, the injured person shall not be barred from recovering non-economic losses to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other nonpecuniary damages.
(Added November 5, 1996, by initiative Proposition 213, Sec. 3. Applicable, by Sec. 4 of Prop. 213, to actions in which the initial trial has not commenced prior to January 1, 1997. Note: Prop. 213 (The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996) also includes Section 3333.3.)
see also: California Civil Code
What is the Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law
The purpose of the Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law is to ensure that drivers and owners of vehicles are financially responsible for any damage or injury caused by a traffic accident, regardless of fault, and to remove financially irresponsible drivers from the highways.
All the details can be found here.
What area of the country do you work in?
We work throughout the United States. We find that being headquartered in California is beneficial to our success. Our office is open 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday – Friday and 8 a.m. – noon on Saturdays. Due to the time zone differences, we are always available late to contact people at work and at home when trying to determine a settlement.