Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage are optional coverages that insureds can purchase to further protect them in case they are involved in an accident with someone who has either no insurance at all or does not have enough insurance coverage to cover the injured person’s damages. These types of claims are presented to the injured party’s insurance carrier, and the carrier essentially steps into the shoes of the uninsured or underinsured defendant to cover the injured person’s damages.
These types of claims are either resolved by a settlement agreement, or through an arbitration proceeding, as opposed to a civil lawsuit in court. This is because the contract between the insured and the insurance carrier has an arbitration clause within it.
If you are researching information about uninsured and underinsured motorist accidents, it is likely that you or your loved one are no longer in immediate danger and you have already discovered an important fact in your personal injury case—the driver who hit you was either uninsured or underinsured.
Before we dive into the details of California laws on uninsured and underinsured motorists in California and how they may impact your case, here are a few immediate things you should know:
☑ You will likely have a more difficult time receiving compensation from your insurance company than if the driver was insured.
☑ You may be provided with incorrect information from insurance companies about your ability to recover full compensation for your injuries.
☑ To ensure you receive the full compensation you are entitled to, you should contact an experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer in Costa Mesa and allow them to negotiate the case on your behalf.
☑ At Hicks Law Firm, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only get paid if you get paid—either in a settlement or at trial.
Contact our team at (949) 541-9944 today for a complimentary consultation of your case.
California law requires motorists to have certain statutorily set minimum amounts of motor vehicle insurance in order to register a vehicle in the state of California and drive on its roads. Yet, 16% of California drivers are still uninsured.
The law requires that drivers be insured for a minimum of $15,000 per person in bodily injury insurance, $30,000 per accident of bodily injury liability coverage, and $5,000 per accident in property damage coverage.
If a motorist does not have insurance, it is likely that their vehicle is also not registered and/or their motor vehicle registration has expired. As a result, the driver may face serious penalties including suspension of their driving privileges, impoundment of their vehicle, and fines.
As the number of drivers on the road increases and more individuals look for ways to save on expenses, many drivers in California choose to purchase the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by law. As a result, if an accident causes expensive property damage to a motor vehicle or catastrophic injuries, many at-fault California drivers may be classified as “underinsured” in a given case.
Without adequate insurance to cover the damages a driver causes, that driver will be personally liable for the damages caused by their negligence that exceed the amount of insurance coverage they have. It is important to note that while insurance companies have a legal duty to negotiate settlements in good faith, they do not have a legal obligation to settle for an amount that exceeds the insured’s coverage.
Under California law, if you suffered any injuries in a motor vehicle accident or have damages of over $1,000, you are required to file an accident report within 10 days of the accident with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
California requires insurance companies to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, but it does not require California drivers to buy such coverage. Therefore, when you discover that the other motorist who caused or was involved in the accident is uninsured or underinsured, you should contact your insurance company immediately to determine whether your policy contains coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists.
If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then your insurance company will review all of the evidence of the accident including the police statement, your medical records, witness statements, and any other relevant evidence, determine what your damages are, and issue payment to you.
However, it is rarely that simple and efficient. An insurance company is a business and their first priority is always their bottom line. It is not uncommon for an individual to be offered much less than their claim is actually worth, but it can also be difficult for most people to know they are being offered much less than they are entitled to.
This is why it is so important to have your claim reviewed by an experienced personal injury attorney, who can properly assess the value of your claim and fight to make sure you receive all the money you are entitled to.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist, then the Costa Mesa personal injury lawyers at Hicks Law Firm are here to assist you in recovering the compensation you are entitled to. That may be accomplished by pursuing a claim against their insurance company if underinsured, your insurance company if you have the required coverage in your policy, or the negligent motorist themselves.
We offer complimentary consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not owe any legal fees out of pocket when you work with us and we will only get paid if you do. Call 949-541-9944 or fill out our online contact form so we may discuss your case.