All drivers in California must carry uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage kicks in if another driver causes your accident who is uninsured or underinsured. There are penalties for driving without insurance in California, but these penalties may not do you much good if you have been injured in an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Instead, the coverage that you have may make a big difference to whether you are able to recover compensation for your injuries. Travis G. Black is a Folsom car accident attorney and a former insurance adjuster who understands how insurers think. A California uninsured motorist accident attorney at our firm can provide you with aggressive and knowledgeable representation.
Pursuing a Claim After an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Accident
Millions of drivers in California flout the law and are uninsured. Even more are only insured up to the bare minimum required by law. Accidents involving injuries often result in one or more people seeking medical care. If you were seriously injured in a car accident, there is a decent chance that the other driver will either be uninsured or not have enough to pay more than a portion of your medical bills.
The uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in your own automobile liability policy will protect you in case another driver does not have enough coverage to pay the extent of your damages. Unless you elect not to have the coverage in writing, you have this coverage. In general, it is better to purchase high insurance limits so that you can obtain a substantial portion of your damages in case you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
When you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, or you are involved in a hit and run, you may either sue the driver and pursue their personal assets or turn to your own insurance and file an uninsured motorist claim against your policy. In most cases, uninsured drivers do not have substantial assets to liquidate for the purpose of satisfying a judgment, so more often, an uninsured motorist claim is the way to go. A Folsom car accident attorney at our California firm can assist you with bringing a claim.
The minimum insurance coverage that must be carried in California is $15,000/$30,000. However, if you have serious injuries that necessitate surgery or rehabilitation, your damages are probably in the six figures and might even be more. Thus, if for example, your damages are $300,000, you might get $15,000 from the at-fault driver and pursue the remainder of the damages from your own policy through an underinsured motorist claim. Underinsured claims are viable whenever the policy limits of the at-fault driver are less than your uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist limits, and those minimum amounts will not fully compensate you.
Many people assume that their insurer is on their side in an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. This is not the case. Just as in ordinary lawsuits against at-fault drivers, your fault may reduce your recovery according to your percentage of responsibility under the doctrine of comparative negligence. Accordingly, your insurer may be in an adversarial position relative to you and may be looking for ways in which you were at fault so that it will not need to pay your total damages. This is one reason why it is crucial to retain a skilled Folsom car accident lawyer for an uninsured motorist claim. Your attorney can present what happened to cause the accident in a persuasive way, and they will have a good sense of where your case is strong or weak.