The aftermath of a California car accident can be extremely disruptive to its victims. Often, involved parties must contend with damaged or unrepairable vehicles and sometimes mild to perhaps life-threatening injuries.
Fortunately, in most cases, car accident victims can receive compensation for their property and personal injury losses through auto-insurance settlements. But when you learn of California’s high rate of uninsured drivers, you might be left wondering, “What happens if the car who hit me had no insurance?”
California Car accident attorneys are all too familiar with this scenario. Here’s what you should know about accidents with uninsured motorists in California.
California Car Accidents: Who Is At Fault?
When an accident occurs on California roadways, someone is going to be held at fault.
Typically, the car accident victim files a claim against the at-fault party, and the negligent driver’s insurance company steps in to pay damages. California car accident victims are entitled to file lawsuits for additional damages against at-fault drivers.
However, if the at-fault party is an uninsured motorist, you need to know how to proceed and what options are available to recover damages.
Help! An Uninsured Motorist has Hit Me
If an uninsured motorist has hit you, these six steps after the accident are crucial:
- Call the Police: a police report will be valuable evidence in a lawsuit
- Call for medical aid: ensure immediate treatment and documentation of your injuries
- Exchange contact information: get the other drivers name, address, and phone number
- Document and photograph evidence: details of the accident will help establish fault
- Gather witnesses: collect information and statements of witnesses to the accident
- Do not accept any money: do not accept any money as it may be construed as a settlement for perceived damages at the time of the accident.
- Following these steps will best position you for a claim against your own insurance company or a lawsuit against the other driver.
Your Options After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If the other driver is uninsured, you may still be able to be compensated for your losses. There are two options available to you:
- File a Claim Against Your Own Insurance Company
California insurance companies are required by law to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage, while not mandatory to purchase, is often a good investment. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and have UMC/UIM coverage, you may have recourse for compensation through your insurance policy.
- File a Lawsuit Against the Uninsured Driver
Working with a California car accident attorney, you may still be able to seek damages against an uninsured driver through a personal injury lawsuit. In fair warning, however, uninsured drivers often have fewer assets and income than insured motorists.
After a comprehensive investigation and case review, your car ancient attorney will advise if a lawsuit against an uninsured motorist will yield enough of an award to justify the action. If so, you may be able to collect for:
- property damage
- personal injury
- medical costs
- lost wages
- lifestyle adjustments
- pain and suffering
Contact a California Car Accident Attorney Today
Accidents involving uninsured motorists present certain challenges when seeking compensation for property damage and personal injury.
Insurance claims against uninsured motorist coverage from your insurance policy aren’t guaranteed to be paid, and filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver may not be a viable option.
It’s best to hire a skilled California car accident attorney to advocate for your rights and navigate any insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit you might pursue. Contact our office today for a comprehensive case review and advisement on your rights and best options.