Has an Uninsured Motorist Injured You?
If you’re injured by a negligent driver in Southern California, you are entitled by law to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and related losses, but to recover that compensation, you will need to be represented by a Pasadena traffic accident lawyer.
However, if the driver who injures you is uninsured, you will not be able to bring a legal claim against his or her insurance company, and suing the driver may not help. Uninsured drivers, as you may guess, are usually uninsured because they have little or no income and few assets.
How can you recover the compensation that you’ll need for your injuries if the driver who injured you has no automobile insurance? Keep reading for the answers you may need if you’ve been injured, or if you are injured in the future, by an uninsured driver in Southern California.
Do You Have the Coverage You Need?
A California driver must produce proof of insurance if that driver is in an accident that causes an injury, fatality, or more than $750 of property damage. Drivers with no auto insurance can be fined, their vehicles can be impounded, and their licenses can be suspended for up to a year.
Drivers in this state aren’t required by law to carry uninsured motorist coverage, but any personal injury attorney will insist that you purchase that coverage. Why? Because California’s car insurance statistics are disturbing.
The Insurance Research Council tells us that approximately 16.2 percent of California’s drivers – about one in seven – carry no auto insurance at all. That means everyone is at risk. Serious accidents happen every day in Southern California.
What Does the Law Require?
Have you purchased the automobile insurance you need? California law requires drivers in this state to carry auto insurance coverage that pays up to:
- $15,000 for bodily injury coverage or death per person
- $30,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident
- $5,000 for property damage (collision coverage) to the other vehicle
While this is the minimum coverage required by California law, it may be insufficient to cover all of the damages after a serious traffic accident – especially if your injuries are serious and the other driver is uninsured.
Most auto insurance companies in California offer higher coverage limits – up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 for total bodily injury per accident.
What Should You Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
California drivers aren’t required to have uninsured motorist coverage, but state law does require a car insurance company to offer uninsured motorist coverage to its policyholders. Again – this can’t be stressed strongly enough – any accident lawyer will insist that you have this coverage.
If a driver does not want uninsured motorist coverage, the law in California requires that driver to sign a document which states that the driver is rejecting the coverage.
However, uninsured motorist coverage can pay for your damages if the driver who injures you in a traffic accident is both negligent and uninsured. Those damages may include compensation for pending and projected future medical bills, lost wages, and related damages and losses.
How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Should You Have?
Your auto insurance company will probably offer you uninsured motorist policy limits that are comparable to your own liability policy’s limits. You cannot recover more for the injuries caused by an uninsured driver than your uninsured motorist policy’s limits.
However, if you want even more coverage beyond the maximum uninsured motorist coverage limits in California – and frankly, that is a very good idea – you will need to buy an “umbrella” policy. Umbrella policies can cover any losses that exceed all of your other automobile policy limits.
Take These Steps at the Scene of an Accident
There won’t be a Pasadena traffic accident attorney at the scene of the accident if you’re injured in a crash in Southern California, so whether or not the driver who injured you is insured, you’ll need to take the following steps to protect your health and to put yourself in the best possible legal position:
- Call for medical assistance at once for yourself and anyone else who’s injured.
- Call the local police, and find out how to obtain a copy of their accident report when it becomes available.
- If the other driver is insured, exchange personal contact details, and get as many details as possible about that driver’s insurance and insurance company. If the other driver is uninsured, get as much personal identification and contact information as you can.
- Take plenty of photographs of the damages to the vehicles, the accident site, and your visible injuries.
- If there were eyewitnesses, try to get their names and contact information.
Take These Steps Next
If you are not treated at the scene or taken to the hospital, have a medical exam as quickly as possible, preferably within twenty-four hours of the accident. That exam should detect any latent injuries, and it provides the medical records you will need if you have to file a personal injury claim.
If you’ve been injured, as soon as you’ve been examined and treated, call the offices of a Pasadena traffic accident lawyer to schedule a discussion about your legal rights and options. Your first legal consultation is provided with no cost or obligation.
The right attorney will provide you with candid, personalized legal advice about the best way to proceed and to recover compensation for your injuries and related damages. But how can you find the right attorney?
Let Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell Advise and Represent You
A Pasadena traffic accident attorney at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell will represent you in a personal injury case or advise you regarding the best way to recover compensation after a serious traffic injury.
Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell is an award-winning personal injury law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for the injured victims of negligence in Southern California over the last four decades.
Your first consultation is free, and you’ll pay no attorney’s fee unless and until a personal injury attorney at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell recovers your compensation by negotiating a private settlement or obtaining a favorable trial verdict on your behalf.
If an uninsured driver (or an insured driver) has injured you or injures you in the future in a traffic collision in Southern California, promptly contact the offices of Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell at 626-208-9906, and we will put the law to work for you.