California requires drivers to have car insurance coverage. However, what happens if you are involved in a car accident with some who doesn’t have insurance? Are you responsible for paying for the damages caused by the crash?
Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys help you seek compensation even if the at-fault driver doesn’t have car insurance coverage. Being in an accident with an uninsured driver doesn’t mean you’re precluded from receiving money if you file a claim. However, you might need to file a claim with your insurance company, which could still mean a battle to recover a fair settlement.
How Does California Car Insurance Work?
California is an at-fault state for car accident claims. If another driver hits your vehicle, you can sue that driver for damages. However, you must prove the driver caused the accident to recover damages.
California requires drivers to have a minimum amount of liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage. Liability insurance pays claims from accident victims when the insured driver causes a car crash.
The minimum liability car insurance coverage California drivers must purchase is:
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death to one person
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people per accident
- $5,000 property damage coverage
Liability insurance does not protect you after an accident. However, you can purchase optional insurance coverage that pays you for damages caused by a car crash.
Med Pay coverage pays your medical bills because of a car accident, regardless of who caused the collision. Collision and comprehensive coverage pay to repair damage to your vehicle or replace your car for covered losses.
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage can compensate you for damages if an uninsured driver hits your car or you are injured in a hit-and-run accident. Underinsured motorist coverage pays the difference between what an at-fault driver’s insurance company pays and your total damages.
Your insurance company must offer you uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. However, you can decline these types of coverage. Since the coverage is relatively inexpensive for the protection offered, it is usually wise to purchase UM coverage if you can afford the premiums.
An insurance company is only liable for covered damages up to the policy limit. Furthermore, policies might contain exclusions and clauses that limit liability for specific situations or accidents.
How Does an Uninsured Motorist Claim Work?
If an uninsured or hit-and-run driver causes your accident, you can file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance provider. However, you must prove that the other driver:
- Did not have insurance coverage or was a hit-and-run driver; AND,
- Caused the accident that resulted in your injuries and damages.
Therefore, you should treat an uninsured motorist claim like any other accident case. You must have evidence proving fault to recover compensation. Furthermore, you must prove the crash caused your injuries and that you sustained damages.
If you were partially to blame for causing the accident, your insurance company may argue that your compensation should be reduced. California’s contributory fault laws state an injured party’s compensation is reduced by the percentage of their fault for causing their injury.
Never assume your insurance company will treat you fairly if you file a claim for uninsured motorist compensation. All insurance companies try to limit their liability for claims. If your insurance provider believes it can reduce the value of your insurance claim by shifting the blame to you, it will likely do so.
Therefore, you might want to talk with our Los Angeles car accident lawyers about your claim before you talk with an insurance adjuster. Our lawyers help you with an uninsured motorist claim. We also explore other options for recovering compensation for damages, including filing a personal injury lawsuit.
What Damages Can I Recover for an Uninsured Motorist Claim in California?
Your insurance company stands in the place of the uninsured driver. Therefore, you can recover the same types of damages as you would if you filed a claim against the other driver.
You can receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including:
Remember, you have the burden of proving your case just as if you were pursuing a claim against the at-fault driver. Therefore, begin gathering evidence immediately after the crash. Your attorney investigates the accident further to gather additional evidence proving fault.
What Should I Do After a Los Angeles Car Accident With an Uninsured Driver?
You can take several steps immediately after a car crash which helps you build a solid case for compensation. After an accident with an uninsured driver, steps you can take to help build evidence include:
- Call the police to report the car accident. Remain at the accident scene until an officer tells you you can leave.
- Do not confront the uninsured driver. Instead, wait for police officers to handle the matter.
- If the driver flees the accident scene, try to write down as much information about the vehicle and the driver while it is fresh on your mind.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, including the vehicles and the surrounding area. It can also help to make a video with your cell phone.
- Do not apologize for the accident or admit fault for causing the crash.
- Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. Prompt medical care helps link your injuries to the accident.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident and potential claim. However, be careful when talking to the company. Statements you make could be intentionally misinterpreted to use against you.
- Document your damages by keeping copies of all receipts, bills, invoices, and other proof of financial loss.
- Start a journal detailing your recovery, including your struggles because of your injuries.
Contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer monitors the statute of limitations for filing claims. Your attorney also handles all matters related to the case, including building an evidence-based claim and negotiating car accident settlements with the insurance company.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers
A car accident is a stressful event. If the other person does not have insurance, you might be responsible for paying for the damages caused by the crash.
Call M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers at (877) 300-4535 to schedule a free case evaluation with our Los Angeles car accident lawyers. We explore all options for recovering compensation for damages after an uninsured driver hits you.