Being involved in an automobile accident is a traumatic event. The injuries, both physical and emotional take time to heal. Being involved in an automobile accident where you have injuries and the other driver has little or no insurance to help in your recovery, can be tragic.
Even though every driver in California is required by law to have insurance, not every driver does. To aid the public in recovering from accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers, California has an uninsured motorist law which was created to offer specialized insurance coverage for these situations.
If you are in an accident and:
- The other person stops, but leaves the scene without providing you with their information,
- The other person provides false information (either pertaining to their identity or coverage),
- It’s a hit and run accident with contact between the two automobiles
- You were a pedestrian and you were struck by a automobile
It can be difficult to track that person down to collect from their insurance, and in many cases, no coverage exists. On the other hand, what if the driver stops and provides insurance information, but that insurance is not sufficient to cover the amount of damages that exist in your claim? In both cases, the assistance of an uninsured motorist attorney is paramount. Not only do they have access to many investigational resources, they have more experience dealing with insurance companies.
What If You Were Hit While You Were Walking Or Crossing The Street?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist policy coverage is available in the event that the person struck was a pedestrian and not another driver.
What If You Have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage But The Person Involved Is Your Relative Who Has No Coverage?
Under an uninsured/underinsured policy, coverage should be extended to the named insured and all relatives who are residents of the named insured’s household.
If the other driver has no insurance, you can make an uninsured motorist claim on your policy. Provided that you have the uninsured motorist coverage, you can ask your insurer for any amounts that you would ask the other driver for if they had insurance.
- Property damage,
- Medical bills,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of consortium.
However, punitive damages are not recoverable in an uninsured motorist claim.
What Do You Do If You Have Trouble Collecting On Your Uninsured Motorist Claim?
Let’s face it; some insurers can make filing a claim difficult. If you feel your insurer is making the claims process intentionally difficult you should contact an attorney to assist you in recovering on your insurance claim. To aid your attorney in recovering your claim amount, punitive damages are available if you can prove that your insurer intentionally handled your claim in an unprofessional manner.
If the other driver has some insurance but less than your uninsured motorist policy limits, you should contact an attorney. Be sure you or your attorney remains in contact with your insurer while your attorney attempts to settle your claim with the other driver’s insurance carrier. This process may take time so it is important to remain patient while your attorney works with both insurers.
BE AWARE: A lawsuit must be filed against the uninsured driver within two years of the date of the accident, or the claim will be barred by law!