Getting into a car accident can be incredibly stressful. Things can get even worse when the other driver isn’t insured. This can make it very difficult to get the money you need to get better. Our attorneys can help you pursue compensation from the person who is responsible for your injuries. We know how these complex cases need to be handled and will fight to make sure you get the money you deserve. Call Injury Trial Lawyers, APC today to schedule your free case assessment.
Drivers in San Diego Must Carry Insurance
California law requires that all drivers purchase car insurance before hitting the road. However, any insurance policy will not do. Drivers have to make sure that they buy the minimum coverage permitted by law. Today, minimum insurance coverage includes:
- $15,000 – death or injury of any one person
- $30,000 – death or injury of more than one person, and
- $5,000 – property damage.
These are the maximum amounts that will be paid out by an insurance carrier after an accident. Drivers are encouraged to purchase an insurance policy with even greater coverage.
Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers in San Diego
Not all drivers satisfy these car insurance requirements. In fact, approximately 15 percent of all drivers have no car insurance coverage, at all. Many other drivers have some car insurance but do not satisfy the minimum requirements. Car insurance policies exist to cover the cost of injuries and damage after an accident. Things can get very complicated when drivers are uninsured or underinsured.
- Uninsured Drivers: Uninsured drivers have no car insurance coverage, at all.
- Underinsured Drivers: Underinsured drivers have some car insurance coverage. However, their policy does not meet state minimum requirements.
When are you involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you will have a few different legal options.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
The state expects that some drivers will comply with car insurance requirements. As a result, it requires car insurance companies to offer what is known as “uninsured motorist coverage.” This is a special insurance policy that protects you if you’re an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance.
You are highly encouraged to purchase this additional coverage. You do have the right to opt out. However, you must explicitly state that you do not want coverage and sign a legal waiver. Think of it as a special layer of protection in the event of a crash. If the other driver isn’t insured, or is underinsured, your uninsured motorist coverage will kick in. Uninsured motorist coverage even protects you if you aren’t driving. It can be used if you are injured while riding a bicycle or walking.
How Do I Use My Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage kicks in when you are in an accident with a driver who is underinsured or uninsured. You simply have to make a claim against your own policy within 24 hours of the crash. The amount of money you can get from your policy will depend on (a) the extent of your injuries and (b) the other driver’s coverage.
If the other driver is uninsured, you can usually recover whatever your standard liability protection offers. You’ll have to consult the terms of your car insurance policy to find out what this is. If you simply purchased the minimum acceptable coverage, you can get a maximum of $15,000, $30,000, and/or $5,000.
- Example: You are involved in a car accident with A. A is uninsured. You suffer $10,000 in damages. You submit a claim with your car insurance company to recover benefits from your uninsured motorist policy. Your policy should cover the entire $10,000. (Keep in mind your specific case may be different when deductibles are involved.)
If the other driver is underinsured, things can get more complicated. You will typically be able to get whatever their policy recovers. Your uninsured motorist policy will then make up the difference in what you are owed.
- Example: You are involved in a car accident with B. You suffer $10,000 in damages. B is underinsured. His policy only covers $5,000 in the event of a bodily injury. You would file a claim against B for that $5,000. Your uninsured motorist policy would then step in to cover the remaining $5,000.
Your insurance company will investigate your accident and assess the value of your claim. They want to minimize any insurance benefits that you receive. As a result, they will try to downplay the extent of your accident and injuries. If you disagree with an insurance company’s assessment, you have the right to contest it. Our attorneys can help you do this through a process called arbitration. Arbitration allows us to settle your dispute with the insurance company privately, without having the involve a court.
Filing Personal Injury Lawsuit for Damages
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage you can always file a personal injury lawsuit. You can file a lawsuit against anyone else who may be to blame. This is often important in uninsured motorist cases. Why? If the driver didn’t have insurance, they may not have the ability to pay damages in a personal injury case. Even if you win, you may not be able to physically secure the money you are owed. Finding others who may be liable can help you get the money you deserve.
Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your accident to determine who may be at fault. This may include the other driver, their employer, other motorists, car manufacturers, or the government. We will pursue compensation from anyone who contributed to your accident and injury.
Getting You the Money You Deserve
Car accidents can cause a lot of damage. You may suffer from a painful physical injury. Serious accidents can also inflict severe emotional trauma. As a result, you may have difficulty getting up and going to work. This can really amplify the financial stress you experience after your accident. Our attorneys are here to help you recover all of the compensation you deserve.
We will pursue all damages you suffer, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Chronic pain
- Disfigurement, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
A thorough investigation will allow us to determine the full extent of your injuries. We will work with experts to make sure that your claim is valued properly. Call us today to learn more.
Need More Help?
Have you been involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver? Call our San Diego car accident attorneys for help. We have successfully handled complex car accident matters since 2005. We know how to protect your rights and get you the money you deserve. You only have a limited amount of time to act. Contact us today to schedule your free case assessment.