Have you or someone you care about been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist in the Greater Los Angeles area or elsewhere in California? In California, the minimum required amounts of liability insurance are only $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. In an accident involving serious injuries, these limits are usually too low to fully compensate an individual for all of their injuries. Your case may have a value in excess of the insurance policy limits.
* What do you do if you have been involved in an auto accident and the other driver just ran away or does not have sufficient insurance?
* What if you were a pedestrian or riding a bicycle and hit by a driver who drove away or does not have any auto insurance?
* This is not unusual. Many drivers in California do NOT have insurance, so what should you do if the driver that hit you does not either?
In California, there are thousands of vehicles on the road whose drivers are uninsured or have very little bodily injury liability coverage: it is estimated that up to one in five California drivers does not carry automobile insurance. In sum, if you have been in a car accident, there is a pretty good chance that the other driver does not carry appropriate amounts of insurance.
What Is Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage can pay for injuries to you and your passengers, and in some locations damage to your property, when there is an accident and the other driver is both legally responsible for the accident and considered “uninsured” or “underinsured.”
An uninsured driver is someone who did not have any insurance, had insurance that did not meet state-mandated minimum liability requirements, or whose insurance company denied their claim or was not financially able to pay it. A hit-and-run driver also counts as uninsured as it relates to bodily injury (UMBI).
An underinsured driver is someone who met minimum legal financial responsibility requirements, but did not have payment limits high enough to cover the damage they caused. In these cases, UM or UIM can pay you for your damages. It is important to note that uninsured and underinsured motorist protections are separate, although in many states they can or must be purchased together.
If you have UM or UIM coverage in your own auto insurance policy, you can recover money for your injuries. The UM insurance company pays when the other driver does NOT have any insurance. UM coverage pays for most (but not all) of the things that the other person’s insurance would have paid if it existed. UM insurance coverage should cover the following losses:
* Ambulance, paramedic, hospital and medical bills, including dental, x-ray, MRI and prescriptions.
* Loss of wages, earnings and income.
* Pain, suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life activities.
* Loss of future earnings and earning capacity.
There are some things that UM coverage may not cover, including the following:
* Property damage. UM coverage does not cover damage to your car, towing, rental or loss of use. However, you may also have collision coverage that does pay for property damage, less your deductible, and UM waiver of deductible that may cover your deductible. You may also have rental reimbursement and towing coverage. Check your policy coverage carefully and give a copy of your coverage declaration page to your attorney to review.
* Punitive damages. These damages are not covered unless your own insurance company wrongfully handles your UM claim. Then you may be able to bring a separate action against it for the bad faith handling of your claim. If you think this may apply, you should immediately consult our offices for advice.
If you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist and decide to make an uninsured motorist claim/underinsured motorist claim, we strongly recommend that you find an attorney with experience making these claims.
You can be sure that the insurance company has its team already working on ways to reduce or deny your claim. A good attorney will keep these people in line. Any wrong move, and the insurance company may be faced with a lawsuit or mandatory arbitration, which is usually required in UM policies. In addition, if the insurer in an UM or UIM claims acts unfairly, you may have a separate and additional claim against it for “breach of contract” and/or “breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” commonly referred to as acting in “bad faith”.
At The Law Offices of David F. Makkabi, our Los Angeles Personal Injury attorneys can help you obtain full compensation for your injuries, even if the driver at fault for your accident does not carry proper amounts of insurance. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, we will help you pursue a claim based on the terms of your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance.
If you believe you will have to make a claim against your insurance company, you should know that it cannot raise your rates for making a claim against it. In fact, your insurance company owes you an obligation of good faith and fair dealing.
Through years of experience, we have firsthand knowledge of the tactics insurance companies use to minimize liability. Even though you are owed this duty by your insurer, it is important that you understand that your insurance company does not care one bit about your history with them. It does not matter if you faithfully paid for your policy year after year. Insurance companies have only one goal, and that is to limit their exposure in the here and now.
If you would like a free consultation about your insurance claim, please contact us:
* Telephone: 1 (310) 887-8000
* Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
* or Visit: http://www.makkabilaw.com We look forward to speaking with you about your claim. Thank you.