My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: California
It was 3:35 on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. I was in the right lane of a 25 mph 2-lane street coming to a red light behind 2 cars. I signaled to change to the left lane, checked over my shoulder, and saw a truck about 5 car lengths back slowing for the red.
I started to make the lane change slowly, but was surprised to see the truck in my driver's side mirror, continuing along, oblivious to my move... and then the crunching sound of his truck belting into the driver's side of my sedan. I guess he didn't see me, since he drove right through, peeling the driver's side of my car from the front tire forward, knocking loose the headlight and front bumper, which remained hanging from the car. I would estimate my speed at about 5-10 mph, his at about 15-20.
We spoke very little while exchanging insurance information, just made sure no one was injured... but his truck suffered minor side damage (maybe a few scrapes) compared to my car (which now has the engine partially exposed). I'm pretty sure my lane change was both safe and legal, and that he should have slowed or braked instead of plowing straight through. My questions are concerning fault:
1) According to California state law, who is at fault here?
2) We did not file a police report. Should I still file one to validate the claim I plan to make with his insurance company? (I only have liability insurance and cannot cover my damages by myself, which I ballpark at around 1,000-3,000 dollars.)
3) Is it even worth my time filing the claim, or will I just have to swallow the loss. Might his insurer claim it was my fault, etc? In other words, what should I expect, and what are my best options?????