California Vehicle Code 16056 CVC: Minimum Auto Liability Insurance Coverage

CVC 16056 requires all drivers to have a minimum amount of coverage in case they are liable for a car accident. This minimum liability coverage means the at-fault driver will not have to pay out of pocket for a car accident claim, but if they fail to carry this coverage, they may face penalties for the violation along with payment for this accident.

California has certain set laws about insurance, meant to protect drivers in the event of an accident. While this may never actually come to pass, every driver still must abide by these rules. One of the most important ones sets a limit on the lower end of an insurance policy, so that the victim of a crash always has a certain amount of compensation.

If you have been involved in an accident with someone who does not have this insurance, you are not out of options. We at Kevin Crockett Accident Attorneys are here to help you get the compensation you need after a costly wreck. Together, we can ensure that whether or not their policy covers your damages, you are still covered by a proper settlement.

Table of Contents

What is California VC 16056?

California VC 16056 requires all California drivers to have a certain amount of insurance. This means they can cover the damages in the event of a car accident. The law reads as follows:

California Vehicle Code 16056 reads (a) A policy or bond shall not be effective under Section 16054 unless issued by an insurance company or surety company admitted to do business in this state by the Insurance Commissioner, except as provided in subdivision (b), and unless the policy or bond is subject to either of the following:

(1) If the accident has resulted in bodily injury or death, to a limit, exclusive of interest and costs, of not less than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to that limit for one person, to a limit of not less than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and, if the accident has resulted in injury to, or destruction of property, to a limit of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), for any policy or bond issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2025, if the accident has resulted in bodily injury or death, to a limit, exclusive of interest and costs, of not less than thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident and, subject to that limit for one person, to a limit of not less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and, if the accident has resulted in injury to, or destruction of property, to a limit of not less than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.

(b) A policy or bond shall not be effective under Section 16054 with respect to any vehicle that was not registered in this state or was a vehicle that was registered elsewhere than in this state at the effective date of the policy or bond or the most recent renewal thereof, unless the insurance company or surety company issuing the policy or bond is admitted to do business in this state, or if the company is not admitted to do business in this state, unless it executes a power of attorney authorizing the department to accept service on its behalf of notice or process in any action upon the policy or bond arising out of an accident mentioned in subdivision (a).

(c) Any nonresident driver whose driving privilege has been suspended or revoked based upon an action that requires proof of financial responsibility may, in lieu of providing a certificate of insurance from a company admitted to do business in California, provide a written certificate of proof of financial responsibility that is satisfactory to the department, covers the operation of a vehicle in this state, meets the liability requirements of this section, and is from a company that is admitted to do business in that person’s state of residence.

(d) For a policy or bond issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2035, the minimum liability coverage shall be increased by twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) for bodily injury or death for one person, by forty thousand dollars ($40,000) for bodily injury or death for all persons, and by ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for property damage.

As long as your insurance policy will cover this much, you have nothing to worry about. However, just because you stick to this rule, does not mean the one responsible for the wreck will. In those cases, a car accident attorney may be your best chance of receiving the funds you need to recover.

Tip

While these are the minimum amounts required, it is possible to have a policy worth more. In fact, to properly cover all costs without dipping into your own pockets, it is encouraged to have the best plan possible.

What is the Effect of VC 16056 on a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The liable party’s insurance coverage plays a major part in a personal injury lawsuit. Ideally, you are dealing only with an insurance claim, and you can receive the compensation you need from their provider. However, this is not always the case, and the amount or lack of coverage provided by their insurance is a large factor in how much of a settlement you need.

As any personal injury lawyer can tell you, an injury case is complicated. You have to be careful as you navigate through it, or else you can jeopardize your chances for the maximum settlement. There are a few major responsibilities that are made more difficult when you have suffered a severe injury to contend with.

Proving Liability

One of the first things you and your accident attorney must do is determine who is liable for the accident. While that can be simple, as in a rear collision, it can be much more complex. When the liable party has been determined, it must then be proven before a settlement can be reached.

Partial Fault

California Civil Code 1714 says that California is a fault state, meaning that the person responsible for the accident is responsible for paying for the damages caused. Even if you are partially at fault, you can still seek compensation, though the amount may be reduced. We can work to reduce the amount of fault you take, for maximum compensation.

Fight for Maximum Compensation

As California does not limit how much or how little fault you must take to sue, it is possible that the at-fault party may try to claim you are also liable. As your car accident lawyers, we will work to ensure you take as little fault as possible. We are dedicated to getting you the highest possible settlement and defending you from their accusations.

Pro Tip

Before making any legal moves, consult with a California car accident attorney. We can help you understand your case’s ins and outs before filing so you know what to expect.

The Penalties of a 16056 VC Violation

VC 16056 is a relatively minor infraction, but that does not mean it should be taken lightly. While it is neither a misdemeanor nor a felony, it still carries a potentially steep fine. The driver without insurance could be fined up to $900 for the first instance and $1,200 for subsequent instances.

In cases where the driver does have insurance, this is not a complex case. They must simply prove before a judge that you have insurance, even after the fact. Doing so is likely to get the infraction dropped, leaving them with only a $25 charge to deal with.

Will the Liable Party Get Their License Suspended?

Unlike most other infractions, CVC 16056 does not add any points to your license. This means that they are not at risk of losing their license or having their record affected. However, the accident itself may cause trouble, depending on the details.

Is the Driver Negligent for Any Accidents?

Minimum liability coverage provides support if you are found negligent. Thus, if you do not have that coverage and are found negligent for an accident, you must pay out of pocket. This means that if someone hits you and does not have the necessary insurance, you can still receive a settlement.

Can the Infraction be Challenged in Court?

Any traffic ticket can be challenged in court, as everyone has the right to do so. While an infraction may not seem so serious, it can have serious financial penalties. Drivers who receive this penalty may need to take this case to court and argue in their favor.

When one receives a ticket, they can either plead guilty and pay it or challenge it in court. The ticket should have a court date printed on it so you can present your case before a judge if the driver chooses. Generally, it is recommended that one bring a lawyer, like our Kevin Crockett, to represent them in court.

VC 16056 is one of the simpler infractions to fight. All one has to do is present proof of insurance, even if they did not do so at the time. This lowers the penalty to only $25, and this process can be handled entirely by a lawyer without the person themselves ever setting foot in court.

Note

Just because the liable party beats the infraction does not mean they win the personal injury case. They must still pay for your damages, either with their insurance or out of pocket.

California Vehicle Code 16056 FAQs

Even a simple infraction can be difficult to understand. While a California car accident lawyer will be happy to answer any questions you may have, there are some that come up more commonly. Here are a few of those, with answers included.

What is Section 16056?

California VC 16056 is a law requiring drivers to have certain insurance amounts in case of a wreck. While your policy may cover more, there is a minimum it must meet. Failure to do so is an infraction and means you likely must pay off the damages out of pocket.

What is the minimum insurance requirement in California?

VC 16065 sets a minimum requirement on insurance for anyone driving in California. This is meant to protect both you and anyone injured in an accident. The minimums are:

  • $15,000 for a single injured or killed person
  • $30,000 for injured or killed groups
  • $5,000 for property damage

How does minimum insurance work?

Minimum insurance means that no matter what, you have a policy that covers this amount. You may have a better policy, but you cannot have a lower one. As long as you have this amount, you can likely cover the bulk of the damage caused.

Is minimum car insurance enough?

While the minimum should cover a fair amount of damage, it is not guaranteed to cover all of it. If the damages exceed that amount, you are still liable but will likely have to pay out of pocket. This is why you may want to consider a better policy.

What does minimum insurance cover?

Minimum insurance is meant to cover at least a fair amount of damage caused in a car accident. It helps victims of an accident recover from their injuries and property damage. While it does not cover everything, it at least forms a cushion.

Is 16056 VC a misdemeanor?

No, 16056 is an infraction. These are more minor but do carry potential penalties. Usually, this is in the form of a potentially heavy fine.

How much is a 16056 VC ticket?

If one does not challenge a 16056 VC ticket, they may be looking at a fine of up to $900. For a subsequent infraction, it could be $12,000. However, this is fairly easy to avoid as long as insurance can be proven.

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers Today for Legal Help

When you have been in a car accident, you may feel confused and helpless. When the at-fault party does not have the insurance they are meant to, it can feel even worse. Thankfully, we at Text Kevin Accident Attorneys are here to help.

We are a skilled, experienced firm with countless success stories. We are dedicated to helping our clients receive the maximum possible settlement, either through insurance or personal injury claims. If you are ready for our help, do not hesitate to call or fill out our online contact form.

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