When it is determined that a crash was caused by an underinsured or uninsured driver, recovery options become more complex.
Like all states, California requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage to legally operate their vehicles on our streets and highways. And although it is illegal to drive without car insurance, the Insurance Information Institute estimates over 16% of all drivers in California are uninsured.
So, what happens if you are injured in a collision with an uninsured driver? What happens if the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is not enough to cover your complete financial recovery needs?
The answer may lie in your personal insurance coverage through uninsured or underinsured coverage you have already been paying for.
This is a common question as the full details of an insurance policy are often complex and unknown to most people. Additionally, this question stems from the belief that insurance premiums will increase, or the policy will be canceled because the insurance company made a payment on a claim.
Here is what all California drivers should know about their vehicle insurance coverage.
California Requires All Drivers to Carry At Least the Minimum Car Insurance Coverage
California drivers must carry the minimum car insurance coverage or obtain proof of financial responsibility for a surety bond of $35,000.
The minimum insurance requirements in California are:
- $5,000 property damage liability coverage
- $15,000 per person for bodily injury liability coverage
- $30,000 per accident for bodily injury liability coverage
Unfortunately, California does not require drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
The purpose of uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage compensate you when you are injured due to the negligence of another driver who has the minimum coverages or is illegally operating their vehicle with no insurance at all.
What Can I Do If an Underinsured/Uninsured Driver Caused My California Car Accident Injuries?
There are two accident scenarios involving underinsured or uninsured drivers in California.
First, when underinsured drivers cause a collision with serious or even catastrophic injuries, their coverage — especially if it is the minimum coverage — may not be enough to cover the medical expenses, lost wages, or even permanent disabilities that result from the crash.
Next, if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, chances are they do not have the financial means to pay for your complete damages.
If either of these circumstances pertains to your collision, our car accident lawyers in Whittier will explore your insurance policy for its underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, so you are not left paying for your expenses out of pocket.
Will Filing a Claim with My Auto Insurance Company Raise My Rates?
Car insurance rates often increase after a chargeable accident occurs in California, which may include moving violations, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident, or driving under the influence.
If you have been injured in a collision with an uninsured driver, California’s Proposition 103 allows drivers to make an uninsured motorist claim by forbidding insurance companies from raising their premiums as a result.
There are exceptions — including instances of fraud — but this legally binding precedent removes most of the hesitance motorists experience when filing a claim with their insurance provider.
Filing a Claim With Your Insurance Company Does Not Guarantee Payment
At Hanning & Sacchetto, our auto accident attorneys in Whittier caution our clients from believing that their insurance company will automatically pick up where the negligent driver’s coverage lacks.
It is important to understand that your insurance company is still an insurance company, which means they will do everything they can to avoid paying the maximum amount for your claim.
If you have been injured in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver in California, contact our experienced car accident attorneys in Los Angeles County at Hanning & Sacchetto today by calling (562) 698-6446 to learn how we can pursue the financial recovery you are entitled to from your insurance coverage, so you can move forward with confidence.