Having an accident with an uninsured motorist could be overwhelming and cause future uncertainty because there is no liability insurance to compensate you for your damage and losses.
Although there are strict laws in California requiring all motorists to have active insurance coverage, close to 20% of motorists do not have insurance cover. No matter how cautious you are on the road, you are still vulnerable to accidents with uninsured motorists.
It concerns since there are specific laws that require motorists always to carry their insurance cover. Motorists are always expected to have at least “15/30/5” of vehicle liability cover.
In other terms, it means that motorists should carry at least:
- $5,000 for property damage
- $30,000 for death or injury caused to two or more people
- $15,000 for death or injury caused to a single person.
Reach out to us at the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney if you have been injured or hit by an underinsured or an uninsured motorist.
Common Reasons Why Drivers Fail to Have Auto Insurance
There are various reasons for a driver not to have insurance cover. Some of which include:
- Inoperability — Most inoperable cars do not have car insurance coverage even though it is mandatory to have car insurance coverage. It is crucial to file proof of the car damage by a licensed professional repair to call off any active coverage.
- Affordability — Depending on the car model, the driver's age, and the vehicle's history, insurance coverage is high in states where full vehicle coverage is necessary. But for motorists who reside in states that require limited liability coverage, it is easier for them to get insurance coverage due to the lower rates. Motorists who cannot pay monthly premium rates should probably change into an older car.
- Policy Changes — When the insurance company is part of a buyout(which is rare), they may change their coverage details and policy terms. But the companies notify their insurance holders before the end of the coverage for them to find other alternatives.
Penalties of Driving Without an Insurance in California
Suppose a motorist is involved in a severe accident without an insurance cover or lacks sufficient coverage. In that case, he/she is likely to face several penalties for not complying with the law.
Some of the penalties include the “no pay no play rule,” which forbids you from following financial compensation for the damages and injuries you have suffered. You could also be required to lose your driving rights and be required to pay fines.
Steps To Take After an Accident Involving an Uninsured Motorist
You should consider the following steps to protect yourself even though the driver who hit you has an insurance cover. But these steps are more critical if the motorist who hit you is uninsured:
File a Police Report
After an accident with an insured motorist, you may receive emotional manipulation from the faulty driver .”I don’t have insurance; please do not report me!” “I am sorry, it was by mistake; my family will not understand this!”
You may feel the need not to report the liable driver but remember, failing to report him/her could cost you a lot since your insurance company may fail to compensate you.
Additionally, it can also confuse who caused the accident or whose fault it was. It is also illegal to leave the accident scene unless you seek safety for yourself, summon help, or medical attention. Leaving the place may cause you severe penalties.
After the accident, call 911 and remain at the scene until the police arrive. The police will compile a police report with vital information such as information on the liable party, the responsible person’s contact information, any evidence, and the witnesses’ report.
Do not Take any Accident Liability
If you take liability for the accident, even partial liability, you may find yourself paying for damages that you did not cause. It means that your insurance will cover both your damages and those of the other diver. Do not make statements that could make you seem guilty or liable for the accident and injuries. Words like “I am sorry” could be used against you. Only answer the required questions and do not give unnecessary statements.
Seek Medical Attention
Even though you are not bleeding or in any pain, it is good to go to a medical facility and get checked since you could have suffered internally. In most cases, serious injuries do not show immediately; symptoms start showing afterward. Injuries that are left untreated may worsen with time and cause severe damages to your body. Avoid gambling with your health and get checked immediately.
Contact your Insurance Company
It is essential to reach out to your motor insurance company if you suffered property damage with an uninsured car and your health insurance company if you suffered any physical injury. It would help if you were careful when dealing with insurance companies since their main goal is not to pay or pay the least amount of money, so be cautious with the information you give.
It would help if you allowed your attorney to deal with the insurance company on your behalf. An experienced attorney will know how to properly deal with the insurance company to ensure that you get maximum compensation.
Look for an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
There are many benefits of hiring an experienced car accident attorney following an accident with an uninsured motorist. Some of these benefits include:
Give you detailed information
An experienced attorney can identify the liable party by thoroughly investigating the incidents of the accident; he/she can advise you on how to file a claim if you decide to and can analyze the policies of your insurance and help you know the compensation you are eligible for.
Communicate with your insurance Providers
Insurance companies can be hard to deal with. Getting compensated for your vehicle, damages, and injuries can be close to impossible. Still, an experienced attorney can negotiate with the insurance company and file a case against them if need be.
Offer support through the claim possess
A skilled attorney can help you helm throughout the claim process and help you get maximum compensation. It will save you a lot of work and energy and ease your recovery period.
An experienced attorney may also be able to file a claim for damages on your behalf. Filing a claim can be complicated and difficult for a plaintiff who is not represented by an attorney. Having an experienced car accident attorney can save you from this stress and make your claim filing easier.
After an accident, even the smallest details can be used as evidence for you to receive compensation. Capture everything on the scene of the accident, even the nearby road signs, and junctions.
Take all Details
It is important to note all details, whether they seem relevant or not. No information is too much in such cases. Any parties that you think could help your insurance company should be noted down.
Do not accept Money
The other diver may be worried about the fines and fees they might incur in court, and they may try to silence you with money. Although it may seem like a good deal, do not accept money since you do not know the value of the damages caused.
How You Can Obtain Compensation Following an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist
After car accidents, most victims suffer severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, which leaves them with huge medical bills to clear. On top of that, the damages may be severe so that the victims cannot get back to their usual jobs.
If you have experienced an accident with an uninsured motorist, there are possible options that you could use to get compensated. They include:
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
There are two main types of uninsured motorist cover, which include:
- Bodily injury coverage for uninsured motorists — If you have experienced injuries following an accident with an uninsured motorist, the UMBI provides you with compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Income loss
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
If you do not have UMBI coverage, you may end up taking care of your medical bills. On the other hand, if you succeed in filing a claim on other insurance covers like personal injury protection, or your medical coverage, UMBI can cater for other injuries like pain and damages that are not medical related.
- Property Damage Coverage for uninsured motorists — If your vehicle gets damaged after an accident with an uninsured motorist, UMPD, covers the repair; Again, if your auto policy does not have UMPD coverage, you may pay for repairing your vehicle or filing a claim against the liable party.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Some car insurances require each diver to bear liability for catering for their damages to the PIP policy limits. If you are involved in a minor car accident, your injuries will be covered by this coverage.
Following an accident with an uninsured vehicle, this personal injury protection insurance can also be used to cover your damages and injuries.
If you have experienced an accident with an uninsured motorist and your damages exceed PIP insurance, you might get compensated for your medical bills by your health insurance coverage. Your injury attorney can reach out to your health insurance company on your behalf and inform them that you have suffered injuries with an uninsured motorist.
The insurance company may be able to give you details on your deductibles and copays. You can also find out sessions provided for physical therapy in a year, the coverage offered by your insurance providers, if the insurance providers provide long-term medication in cases of serious injuries, and if they provide long-lasting medical instruments.
If you experience damages following an accident with a motorist who does not have liability insurance, you can receive your collision insurance compensation. But in most cases, drivers with a policy of liability only lack a collision insurance policy.
In most cases, if you have suffered injuries after an accident with an uninsured motorist, you need to file a lawsuit to get compensated. It is important to note that even if you file a claim, you may not always get the compensation you deserve because some motorists may not have the money to compensate you for your damages. Filling a claim on top of the lawsuit may help you receive the compensation you deserve.
A Mechanic Who Previously Worked on the Car
A single mess by the mechanic during repair can cause a severe accident. At times, mechanics may accidentally cause more damage to the car as they try to repair it. Good mechanics repair the vehicle entirely and clean up any mess caused to ensure it is used on the road. Some mechanics return the car when it is not roadworthy and fail to alert the driver. The driver only realizes this after causing an accident.
The Manufacturer of the Vehicle
If a mechanical fault caused your road accident that the manufacturer was aware of but did not attend to it, you might have a justification for your claim. The vehicle manufacturer's responsibility is to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy, a failure to cater to the expenses of damages caused by an accident caused by a mechanical fault they failed to address.
The Owner of the Vehicle
If the vehicle owner intentionally allowed an uninsured motorist to drive the car or if the car was not properly maintained, the owner may have to be liable to pay for the damages caused in an accident. Shared liability for an accident mainly happens in fleet or corporate ownership.
The Driver’s Employment Company
If the uninsured driver who caused the accident was employed, the company is likely to share the liability, especially if it was indirectly connected to the accident.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine the liable party that led to the accident and help you get compensated.
How to File an Uninsured Motorist Claim
If you decide to file a claim, act quick. Always notify your insurance provider immediately you determine the liability driver is uninsured and you need to make a claim. It is because there is limited time to file these claims.
The following are the crucial steps that you must take while filing for an uninsured motorist claim. You must:
- Request the uninsured motorist carrier for the documents of consent to settle.
- Request the liability insurance provider for a declaration page, which displays the compensation the policy can offer.
- Issue the uninsured motorist cover with the release and the declaration page.
- Add your signature on the release sent to you by the liability insurance provider.
- Issue the uninsured motorist carrier with the records of your medical bills.
If you follow these steps carefully, your claim will go through.
Potential of Bad Faith
After filing for an uninsured motorist claim, your insurance provider will look into the nature of the injuries you endured, your medical bills, and other situations related to your accident. At times, your uninsured motorist claim can be turned into a bad faith claim on your coverage provider after the investigations.
It is the responsibility of every insurance provider to act in good faith while handling claims. When the coverage company takes an antagonistic procedure while handling your uninsured motorist claim, they may have gone against their duty.
What Happens if the Liable party Fails to pay for the Damages?
In case you file a lawsuit against the uninsured motorist and win a judgment who is unable to pay, you can go to court again and file for a payment order. When the court knows that the defendant cannot afford the money, they do not require payment.
The following are ways in which you can use to get your money from the defendant who is not able to pay for judgment:
- Lien on Property — If the defendant has assets, your injury attorney can file for a lien to have his/her assets frozen. The defendant must not sell their assets immediately, but you should be paid with the sales proceeds when they do.
- Payment Plan — If the defendant can only pay partially for the judgment, the court sets up a payment plan to settle on a monthly or weekly basis.
Filing a claim for an uninsured motorist can lead to conflict between the insurance carrier and the insurance provider; hence it is essential to consult your injury attorney. You should also ensure that your attorney is experienced in handling underinsured and uninsured motorists claims.
Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
We at the Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney have experience in dealing with accidents involving an uninsured motorist. We will help you determine the liable party by evaluating your claim. We offer guidance through the entire process, which is very complicated. Contact us today at 424-231-2013 for a free consultation.