California is an at-fault state for car accidents. If a driver causes an accident, the accident victims can sue the at-fault driver to recover compensation for damages.
Generally, most car accident claims are handled by the driver’s insurance company. California drivers are required to provide proof of financial responsibility for an accident. Most drivers have minimum car insurance coverage to satisfy that requirement.
However, what happens if the driver does not have car insurance or another acceptable form of financial responsibility? Can you sue someone who hit my car without insurance?
Suing an Uninsured Driver for Damages After a Los Angeles Accident
Knowing how to sue an uninsured driver in California and actually suing the driver are different things. It might not be in your best interest to sue an uninsured driver.
When you ask a personal injury lawyer how to sue an uninsured motorist, the lawyer might explain that you have a better option for recovering compensation for your damages. First, an experienced car accident lawyer analyzes the facts of your case to determine all legal options. Then, the attorney determines the best way to seek compensation for an uninsured motorist accident.
The options you have to recover damages after an accident caused by an uninsured driver include:
Suing an Uninsured Driver
All lawsuits have risks. You have the burden of proving the uninsured driver caused the crash. Therefore, your lawyer analyzes the strength of the evidence before proceeding with a lawsuit.
You obtain a judgment against the uninsured driver if you win the case. However, a personal judgment does not guarantee payment. You might need to take legal action to try to collect the judgment.
People without car insurance may not have sufficient assets or income to pay a judgment. If not, you do not receive the money you deserve. Experienced car accident lawyers can evaluate your case to assess whether suing an uninsured driver is advisable.
File an Uninsured Motorist Claim with Your Insurance Company
Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance coverage you can purchase with your liability insurance policy. Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance compensates you for damages if an uninsured driver causes an accident.
You must prove the driver did not have insurance AND caused the accident. However, if you prove your case, your insurance company could compensate you for economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement, impairment, and disability
- Loss of income and benefits
- Cost of personal care and nursing care
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Emotional distress
- Diminished earning capacity and future lost wages
- Cost of medical treatment
- Decrease in quality of life
The value of an uninsured motorist claim depends on the severity of your injuries, the total of your financial losses, the amount of your insurance coverage, and other factors.
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you might have coverage for collision and medical payments.
Talk with your insurance agent to confirm coverage. Depending on the type of coverage you purchased, your insurance provider might pay to repair your vehicle and reimburse you for medical bills.
What Should You Do After an Accident With an Uninsured Driver?
After a car accident, you need to pull over at the safest location to render aid and exchange information with the other driver.
If you or anyone is injured, you cannot move your vehicle, or there is extensive property damage, call 911 for assistance. Generally, it is wise to call 911 whenever you are in a car crash so you have an official report.
Document the accident scene by taking photographs and using your cell phone to make a video of the crash scene. Additionally, make sure you ask eyewitnesses and bystanders for their contact information. Eyewitness testimony can help prove negligence in a car accident case.
See a doctor as soon as possible after the car accident. You need to document your injuries for a claim. In addition to proving fault in a car accident case, you must also prove you sustained damages.
You should also consider talking with a car accident lawyer. Uninsured motorist claims can be complicated and challenging to prove. Even though you are dealing with your car insurance provider, it does not guarantee payment of your claim.
An insurance adjuster assigned to your claim investigates the accident. Adjusters always protect the insurance company’s best interests, even when a customer files a claim.
Therefore, what you say to the insurance adjuster could be used to undervalue or deny your claim. Having legal advice before dealing with an insurance company is always the best way to protect your right to compensation for car accident injuries.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.