Any car accident can be a terrifying experience. However, if the other driver has either no insurance or is underinsured, you may be left feeling overwhelmed. You may be facing medical bills, the inability to return to work due to your injuries, lost wages, damage to your vehicle and property, and pain and suffering. If the other driver was negligent but is either uninsured or underinsured, you may have a more challenging time trying to receive compensation for your injury and damages.
The State of California requires that drivers maintain a certain minimum level of car insurance. Uninsured drivers elect not to pay for this coverage, and underinsured motorists are drivers who have the minimum amount of car insurance coverage, but not enough coverage to pay for your injuries or damages.
California requires that a driver carry the following auto insurance coverages:
- $15,000 of bodily injury or death of one person/ $30,000 per accident
- $5,000 of property damage for a single accident
- $15,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person/ $30,000 per accident
- $3,500 uninsured motorist property damage coverage
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If the other driver in an accident was either uninsured or underinsured, you may be able to look to your own insurance policy to make up any difference in compensation for your injuries and damages. You will want to contact your insurance company immediately after the accident to let them know that you have been in an accident with someone who has either no insurance or is underinsured.
Filing an Uninsured/Underinsured Claim
In order to make a claim under your California underinsurance policy, you first must contact your insurance company to let them know that an accident has occurred, regardless of fault. Additionally, California law requires that if you were involved in an accident, you must fill out a form SR-1 California Accident Report with the California DMV within 10 days of the accident if there is any damage exceeding $1,000 or any injuries. After the accident has been reported, the insurance company will examine the police report, witness statements, and do a full investigation. At this point, if it is determined that you are owed compensation, and have underinsurance as part of your car insurance policy, your insurance policy should pay out the difference. However, it is important to note that oftentimes, insurance companies are challenging to deal with and visiting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you ensure your legal rights are protected.
Suing the Other Driver
It is important to note that you have the right to sue the uninsured or underinsured driver. Unfortunately, many people who do not carry proper car insurance simply do not have enough assets to pay for your losses or injuries.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured or suffered property losses due to a car accident in which the other driver was either uninsured or underinsured, contact the Jolly Berry Law today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. You can reach us at 949- 430-7322 or online.