Differences Between California and Arizona’s Personal Injury Laws
September 27, 2023
Understanding the legal distinctions between Arizona and California regarding car accidents is crucial, especially for attorneys who may not regularly practice in one of these states. The information below highlights these differences.
Car Insurance Policy Limits:
In California, the minimum car insurance limit is $15,000 per individual and $30,000 per accident. In contrast, Arizona mandates a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
If a California driver with the minimum insurance causes an accident, the most any single injured party can claim is $15,000. If multiple people are injured, they collectively can only claim up to $30,000.
Arizona follows a similar structure but with higher limits.
Notably, California is planning to increase its minimum limits in the coming years. By 2025, it will be $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident, and by 2035, it will be $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
Med Pay Reimbursement Rules:
Medical Payments (Med Pay) coverage is an optional benefit covering medical expenses regardless of who’s at fault.
In California, if you receive Med Pay benefits, insurers can ask for a reimbursement if you later recover money from an at-fault party. Arizona, on the other hand, only seeks reimbursement for amounts exceeding $5,000.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage:
This optional coverage offers protection against drivers who don’t have adequate insurance.
In Arizona, you can combine your underinsured motorist coverage with what you recover from the at-fault driver. California doesn’t allow this; your underinsured motorist coverage is merely a supplement, making up the difference between what the at-fault driver can pay and your actual damages.
Uninsured Drivers & Damages:
California prevents uninsured drivers from claiming pain and suffering damages after an accident, irrespective of fault. In contrast, Arizona does not have such a restriction.
Claiming Money Damages in Personal Injury Cases:
There are notable differences between the two states in terms of damage claims post-accident.
California only allows recovery of medical expenses that are paid or owed, while Arizona lets you claim the total billed amount, regardless of the actual payment made.
In certain situations in Arizona, hospitals can “balance bill,” claiming the difference between what health insurance covered and the original charged amount. This is typically not permissible in California.
In summary, it’s pivotal for lawyers and individuals alike to be aware of these variances, ensuring that any claims or legal actions taken are based on accurate information pertaining to the respective state’s laws.
Avian Law Group represents clients in both Arizona and California, whether you were injured in either of the states, we are here to help. Reach out to our firm today for legal assistance.
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