What Can You Do if You’re Hit by an Uninsured Motorist in California?
Most car accident cases are a matter of proving that the other driver’s insurance company should pay your claim. But what do you do if the other driver doesn’t have insurance? People often do not have insurance coverage because they cannot pay the premiums, and therefore, are going to be unable to pay your claim. Uninsured motorist cases present unique challenges that can make it difficult to recover the compensation you need. A San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this process.
Understand Your Own Insurance Coverage
Thankfully, California requires all auto insurers to offer uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage in order to address this problem. This is insurance that you can purchase to provide coverage in the event that you are in an auto accident with someone who does not have insurance. However, uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory and you may have declined it when you took out your auto insurance policy.
As a result, the very first thing you should do is review your auto policy. Unfortunately, insurance policies are often very confusing and difficult to understand. A San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer can review your policy and explain what coverage is available.
Notify Your Insurer
The next thing you want to do is notify your insurance company. If you have UIM coverage, you will need to inform them of the accident in order to make a claim. If you do not have UIM coverage, you will at least need to notify them so that they can repair the damage to your vehicle.
Notify the DMV
You will also need to report your accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Again, this is necessary in order to pursue a claim if you have UIM coverage. Even if you don’t have UIM coverage, it is a good idea simply to create a record of the accident. In fact, California law requires that you report your accident to the DMV if there was more than $1,000 in damage or someone was injured. If you fail to do so, you risk having your own license suspended.
Weigh Your Options
Next, you want to consider all of the options you have available to cover your losses. You may have other insurance coverage, such as health insurance, that will cover your medical expenses. However, your health insurance will not cover things like lost wages or pain and suffering.
Ultimately, you may need to pursue a claim against the other driver even though they don’t have insurance. The nature of your claim will be exactly the same, but it will be harder to settle your claim or collect on a judgment if you wind up going to court. However, you may be able to collect your judgment in the future when they become financially able to pay your claim.
Contact a San Luis Obispo Car Accident Law Firm
If you’ve been in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, they should be held accountable for your injuries. Aggressive and determined, San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer Earl A. Conaway, III can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at (805) 546-8797 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.