One of the first steps you should take after a car accident is exchanging contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved. But, what happens if you find out the driver who caused the accident is uninsured? Will you still be able to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage?
California Insurance Requirements
The state of California requires all drivers to have certain types of insurance , including $15,000 per person or $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, and a $5,000 minimum of property damage liability coverage. It is not required for California drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage, but it is strongly recommended.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you in the event you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. You can purchase uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, uninsured motorist property damage coverage, or both. Although it is not required, insurance companies must at least offer uninsured motorist coverage to their customers. If you choose not to add this coverage to your policy, you must sign a waiver acknowledging your decision.
Filing a Claim After an Accident
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you must file a claim immediately following an accident. The process of filing a claim is almost identical to what you would do if you were in an accident with an insured driver. The only exception is you would file the claim with your insurance company instead of the at-fault driver's company, since your insurance company is the one that is providing you with coverage.
Once the claim has been filed, the company will assign an insurance adjuster to your case who will then contact you to ask you questions regarding the accident. Provide the insurance adjuster with as much evidence as possible to prove the other driver was truly at fault. This can include the official police report, pictures you took at the scene of the accident, and statements taken from witnesses.
Even though you're a paying policyholder, your insurance company will try to convince you to accept the lowest settlement possible. After all, they are concerned with their bottom line, not your medical expenses or property damage. That's why so many people who have been involved in accidents with uninsured drivers contact an attorney to handle the process of filing a claim.
What Happens If You Don't Have Coverage?
If you chose not to add uninsured motorist coverage to your insurance policy, you cannot file a claim with your insurance company after an accident with an uninsured driver. The only way you would be able to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage would be to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. But keep in mind, if the driver had any financial assets, he would probably have insurance coverage, so filing a lawsuit may prove to be pointless if the defendant doesn't have any way to compensate you.
Have you been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver? You may think you're out of luck when it comes to recovering compensation, but don't give up hope just yet. Contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law as soon as possible following the accident. James Rush and his team of experienced legal professionals can help you seek justice and move forward with your life. Schedule a free consultation with our law firm by submitting the online form on our website at www.rushinjurylaw.com .