So you are involved in a car accident that is not your fault. You’ve suffered some pretty severe injuries and the at-fault party either has insufficient insurance coverage, or worse yet, has no insurance at all. Many victims are left in the dark as to where to turn to pay for their damages. As a no-fault party, you always have the option to pursue litigation against the driver, and hope to collect from them personally. However, the reality is that most uninsured or under-insured drivers do not have the money or assets available to make you whole. The solution that people are left with in this situation is to file a claim with their own insurance under their uninsured motorist (UIM) policy. As an attorney, the most crucial part of a automobile policy, other than coverage limits, is the amount of uninsured motorist coverage. California law requires that drivers carry only $15,000 of minimum policy coverage. In serious accidents, a minimum policy amount will barely cover initial hospital and emergency room visit bills. Furthermore, according to the Insurance Information Network of California, about a third of the drivers in the state drive without any form of auto insurance. Therefore, if your involved in a car crash of any magnitude, and do not have any uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, there is a one in three chance that you will end up paying for all of your medical bills out-of-pocket.
Understanding California Uninsured Motorist Policy
When you purchase an automobile policy, the insurance company is required by law to offer you UIM coverage. In fact, you must sign off on your rights specifically rejecting this type of coverage. Failure by the insurance company to obtain a signed waiver of these rights essentially gives the insured the right to collect on an uninsured or underinsured claim. Additionally, a UIM policy provides coverage to not only the policy holder, but to the passengers of the vehicle as well. The difference between uninsured and underinsured coverage is that uninsured covers you where the at-fault driver has no insurance, whereas underinsured coverage provides compensation where the at-fault driver’s policy does not cover the full extent of your damages. Of note is that you are only entitled to receive a maximum of the amount of your UIM coverage for your accident. Therefore, any monies received from the other party’s insurance company will be deducted from your UIM coverage. For example, if you have $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, and you receive $15,000 from at-fault driver’s insurance, than you may only receive a maximum of $85,000 from your own insurance company. Underinsured and uninsured coverage are generally sold as a package, however they can be sold individually. What Are My Rights? As great as UIM and UM coverage sounds, insurance companies have become incredibly skilled at rejecting or undervaluing these types of claims. Most people don’t understand that unlike the other driver’s insurance, your own insurance company is required to treat your fairly and in good faith. They must process your claim in a timely manner, and compensate you to all the benefits you are entitled to. Our uninsured motorist attorneys relish the opportunity to come in and fight against insurance companies that have left their clients feeling hopeless and depressed. In fact, once the insurance company has acted in bad faith, our law firm goes after damages in excess of your UIM policy, including:
- Breach of Contract
- Bad Faith
How Much is My Uninsured Motorist Claim Worth?
Your insurance adjuster will attempt to lowball your uninsured claim as much as possible. Best case scenario, they will tell you that your are only entitled to recoup the costs of your medical bills. Even then, they will often say that most of the bills were either unjustified, or unrelated to the accident and therefore not covered. Even still, they will tell you that the amount of the bills were too high and therefore they are only responsible for a small fraction of the costs. Insurance companies know better than to make these threats to our lawyers. We will work toward recovering compensation for not only your medical expenses, but also:
- Future medical bills,
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity (how much less salary you will obtain in the future as a result of your car accident)
- Pain and suffering (insurance companies are notorious for telling their insured that they will not pay for these damages)
When your insurance company fails to offer you with the amount of compensation you are entitled to under your uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, allow us to maximize your claim. Please call to speak to a los angeles injury attorney
at (888) 649-7166