Is It Worth Pursuing An Accident Claim Where The Other Party Is Uninsured?
If the other party is not insured, it should not stop you from pursuing a bodily injury claim. We go through many steps to determine the existence of insurance: for the driver; for the owner of the vehicle; and whether the driver was working for an employer or acting as an agent for someone at the time of the collision. Finally, we look to your insurance coverage because, in California, your liability insurance coverage automatically and by law, includes uninsured motorist coverage. [That is unless you intentionally and knowingly waived that coverage, in writing, at the time you purchased your insurance coverage.] So, even if it does not appear that the driver of the other car had insurance, chances are we can uncover insurance for you in the event of a collision. Sometimes a collision may be caused by a dangerous condition of the roadway and can bring in a governmental entity as a defendant.
If you are injured by someone who has minimum insurance, which is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per collision, and if you are badly injured so that the value of your claim is more than $15,000, you need to check on your uninsured motorist coverage which be large enough to cover your damages over $15,000. If you have a healthy liability policy, let’s say $100,000, your uninsured motorist coverage could be [and should be] $100,000 as well if your insurance agent was doing his or her job correctly. When you buy insurance, you buy protection in case you are at fault for a collision. If you have assets and can afford substantial coverage, you should also make sure you have an equal amount of coverage for yourself and your family by way of your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you are going to cover everyone else on the road for $100,000, shouldn’t you cover your family in an equal amount? The answer is absolutely yes. Unfortunately, many insurance agents don’t do a very good job of explaining why it is important for you to carry good uninsured motorist coverage or what you give up if you waive your uninsured motorist coverage.
The “underinsured motorist” portion of the coverage works this way: If you have serious injuries and the defendant has only minimum $15,000 of coverage, you can collect the defendant’s policy limits and then pursue an underinsured motorist claim up to the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage. So, if you show your insurance company that you’ve collected the policy limits from the other driver of $15,000, and you have $100,000 of uninsured motorist coverage, you can then pursue a claim to collect the difference between the $15,000 collected from the defendant and the $100,000 available under your uninsured motorist coverage. Your uninsured motorist carrier gets a credit for the $15,000 that you’ve already collected. Therefore, there could be an additional $85,000 available for you to collect on your claim if your injuries and damages are serious enough.
Sure, most people don’t like to make claims under their own policy. But, if you’re hit by an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist, that type of claim that you make under your policy is not charged against you. It is not considered an at-fault claim. It does not increase your premiums, and it does not go on your driver’s record as an at-fault accident. You are simply collecting insurance coverage that you had the foresight to pay for before the collision.
What Damages Can I Seek In My Personal Injury Auto Accident Case?
If you’re in an accident you have a right to make a claim for compensatory damages. Compensatory damages mean that you are able to claim damages to compensate for losses that will put you back in the same position that you were in before the collision occurred.
These “economic losses” can include property damage, rental coverage, medical bills, prescription items, loss of income, and additional expenses you incur to hire people to do what you are no longer able to do.
“Non-economic losses” include money for physical pain, mental or emotional suffering, disfigurement, humiliation, inconvenience, aggravation, physical impairment, anxiety, and humiliation. These are considered human losses and they can be very substantial if you have been seriously injured and subject to a lifetime of suffering or impairment.
Wrongful death damages exist to compensate for the death of a family member. The tragedy of loss of life after a collision or negligently caused injury are staggering, as are injuries for every other type of serious and long-lasting injury, such as burn injuries, fractures, electrical injuries, and head injuries. No one suffering a serious injury or a wrongful death claim should approach an insurance company without experienced legal counsel by their side.
For more information on Accident With An Uninsured Motorist, a personalized consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (818) 530-1770 today.
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