Guide to Uninsured Motorist Insurance Compensation

Brad Nakase, Attorney

Free Consultation: 619-550-1321

There is an increasing number of people being victims of car accidents by uninsured drivers. Currently around 12% of drivers causing accidents are uninsured.


You may find yourself in a situation where another driver who had no insurance caused an accident. If you do, your car insurance policy may be able to compensate you for damages.


Your car insurance company has an obligation to be on your side when situations like this occur. However, you also have to understand that they are a business and will be looking to lower costs.


You should know how to file a claim in a situation where a driver is uninsured or under-insured. The more you know, the better the compensation will be for you and any injuries or damage you sustained.

Understanding Coverage for Uninsured and Under-insured Drivers

Each state has laws requiring drivers show they are financially responsible if they are the reason there was an accident. What this means is that you have to have a certain degree of liability insurance for your car.


The problem is the amount on your insurance policy is potentially less than what your medical bills would cost.


There are certain states which do not legally require you to have car insurance if you have lots of money. However, the chances of you getting into an accident with someone in that situation is slim. You are more likely to get hit by someone without much money, which is why they are uninsured. It is a good idea to have uninsured motorist coverage to protect you in this kind of situation.


Uninsured Motorist Coverage Explained

Uninsured Motorist Coverage helps you pay for any damages you sustained from an accident with an uninsured driver. Around 20 states currently require drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage. Some even require this insurance for covering personal injuries and damage to your personal property


The types of damages considered as personal injuries are the following:

  • Hospital bills and medical expenses
  • Money lost from not being able to work
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional anguish
  • Burial costs


The types of damages considered as property damages are the following:

  • Costs to fix your automobile
  • Costs to rent a car while yours is being fixed
  • Book value of your car if it becomes totaled
  • Value of any possessions which were destroyed in an accident


Under-insured Motorist Coverage Explained

Under-insured Motorist Coverage will assist you in paying any damages after you were injured by a motorist. However, this motorist, while having car insurance, lacks coverage for your specific damages.

Example

Jessica was driving on Sandhill Road when she was unexpectedly hit by an SUV driven by Chris. The accident occurred because Chris drove past a stop sign.


Jessica sustained injuries which included broken bones and a severe brain injury from blunt force trauma. Even worse, her car had been completely totaled.


Her medical expenses exceeded $70,000. The value of her totaled car was $18,000.


Chris only had the legal minimum coverage of liability insurance. His policy carries $15,000 per individual for bodily injuries, along with $5,000 for damage to personal property.


When police officers wrote their report, they stated that there was evidence Chris caused the accident. Jessica was paid through her attorney by Chris’s insurance company up to the policy limits.


Thankfully, Jessica had under-insured motorist coverage which reached the liability limit of $100,000 per individual for sustained injuries. Her coverage also included $50,000 for personal property damage.  Her attorney filed an uninsured motorist claim with her insurance company.


The coverage that Jessica had took care of any remaining costs related to injuries she sustained.


Since she thankfully had under-insured motorist overage, Jessica was compensated entirely for damages she incurred.


How to Make Sense of Your Auto Insurance Policy

Every car in the United States should have automotive liability insurance. This goes for both personal and commercial automobiles and policies.


Each state requires automobile policies to include liability insurance for bodily injuries and property damage. Liability insurance provides you with payment for any injuries and property damage resulting from accidents where you are at fault.


Most states will also necessitate you having coverage against uninsured motorists. This measure is taken to ensure any damages from an accident where an uninsured driver is at-fault are paid.


A few states will also require you to have coverage to protect you against under-insured drivers. This is done in case an at-fault driver has a low threshold in their liability insurance coverage. Under-insured coverage will be taken advantage of once the at-fault driver’s liability insurance threshold has been reached.


It will depend what state your vehicle is insured in regarding uninsured and under-insured coverage being requirements or not. These can appear separately from your liability insurance coverage. However, they are sometimes combined under the umbrella of the same coverage in your policy.


Certain states demand insurance companies provide the option of getting uninsured and under-insured coverage. While a policy holder can choose to abstain from this coverage, they need to sign a form waiving the coverage.


In the states which have the waiver option, the insurance company has to provide the waiver form for you to sign. This form must be given in the event of an accident. If they do not do so, they may be required to give you the uninsured and under-insured coverage free of charge.


In some cases, an insurance company will not agree to your claim for uninsured and under-insured drivers. If this occurs, speak with an attorney at Nakase Law Firm to go over what your options for compensation are.


Additional Kinds of Coverage

There are a few additional types of car insurance coverage you should be familiar with.


Personal Injury Protection Coverage

Sometimes referred to as Med-pay, PIP coverage will assist in covering the costs associated with physical injuries. The great aspect of this coverage is that you are covered regardless of who the at-fault driver is. You will be covered until your limits are reached. There is an additional benefit to this coverage. Passengers who are in your vehicle during an accident can also file claims using your PIP coverage.


Some states demand you have personal injury protection coverage. Some other states do not even provide this coverage as an option.


Collision Coverage

Collision coverage will pay the bills for any type of damage to personal property, like your vehicle. This is true regardless of who the at-fault driver is. While there may be a certain deductible you will be subject to paying, it is still helpful coverage to have.


You are not required by law to buy collision coverage. However, if you hold a car loan, you may be required to have it as part of your financing agreement.

How to Safeguard Your Claim After an Automobile Accident

Call 911

As soon as you can after an accident, call 911. You should do this no matter what. Provide details about where you are to the dispatcher. If you believe you have been injured, make sure to say so. If there are any hazardous conditions, let them know.


Obtain the Other Driver’s Information

After a car accident has occurred, you will have to obtain the information of the at-fault driver. This includes their name, address, phone number, and insurance. Many states mandate that drivers present their license when the other driver requests to see it.


The at-fault driver may tell you they do not have car insurance. They may ask you whether you can make a deal with them. However, avoid doing this since you may miss out on getting compensated.


Get Evaluated Medically

Always welcome medical attention when it is provided to you at the scene of an accident. Mention any issue you feel you may have gotten from the accident, regardless of how insignificant it seems. Your adrenaline may be high and will hide some of your injuries. Avoid playing down any symptoms.


Avoid declining or postponing medical treatment until after you leave the scene of the accident. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to get your injury claim approved. Insurance companies are more than happy to avoid paying your bills. They will state that you did not sustain your injuries at the accident.


Even if you do not go to the hospital right after an accident, you should get evaluated immediately. Whether you go to your usual doctor or an urgent care clinic, notify them about your accident.

Great Evidence Leads to a Great Claim

Photographs

Make sure to take photos at the scene of the accident. This is a very accurate portrayal of an accident and will be treated seriously. When you are taking photos, take them from as many angles as you can. Also, get photos showing the license plate of the at-fault driver’s car. If there are any street markers and indicators of where the accident took place, take photos of those as well.


Witnesses

When you have a written statement from a witness of the accident, you have strong support for your claim. This is magnified if the driver was uninsured and left the scene prematurely.

The claim will have the best chance of being paid out if the witness is someone you do not know. As long as you find someone who saw the accident that fits this requirement, you should have your claim approved.


Police Report

Once police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will begin their investigation. One of them will approach you and speak with you. They will also speak with the at-fault driver, along with any witnesses, if they exist. Once the investigation is concluded, there will be an official report produced on the accident.

The information on the report will have the date and time the accident took place. It will also indicate where the accident took place. All relevant driver and vehicle information, along with witness statements and the officer’s perspective, will be included.

The police report is a trustworthy source of information that holds its weight for insurance adjusters. You can obtain a copy of this report within two weeks of the accident.


Loss of Wages

You may be unable to work because of an accident you were in. If so, have your employer write a statement declaring how much money you will be losing out on. Make sure they include the opportunity cost, along with vacation and sick time you used because of the accident.


The Complexities of UI and UIM Claims

You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after you were in an accident. This is true even if the at-fault driver says they are covered.

Your automobile policy will include a clause which obliges you to notify your insurance company about all accidents. It also states that you will cooperate with their look into the accident.

There are short deadlines for submitting claims for uninsured and under-insured drivers. It may be as few as 30 days in some cases.


How to Have Your Insurance Company Pay a Claim

It can take some time until you discover the driver that caused an accident was uninsured. That driver may have even presented documents to you which looked like they had insurance. However, you may later learn that it was expired or not valid.


It is important to find out as soon as possible whether the at-fault driver was uninsured or not. This is because the countdown for the filing due date does not start until this is known. Your insurance company may reject your claim it you do not adhere to the due date.


If you have the misfortune of finding yourself in a hit-and-run scenario, there will be additional hurdles. Your insurance company will be wary of any claims which speak of a mystery driver. This is a situation where a credible third-party witness is exceptionally helpful.

This witness cannot know you or anyone that was in your car. They should stand to gain nothing from you filing a claim. If the only witnesses to a hit-and-run are other passengers in your car, your claim may be rejected.


The Basics of UIM Coverage

If you are not ready to submit an under-insured motorist claim, but plan to do so, notify your insurance company. This is because every insurance company has its own due date for accepting this type of claim.

This means that you are holding onto your right to submit a UIM claim. However, this is only if the cost of damages is above the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Usually, your UIM coverage takes care of any costs going beyond the liability limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance.

It can help to look at an example to understand this more clearly. Let us say you have hospital bills totaling $60,000. The driver causing an accident has $20,000 in liability insurance for bodily injuries. You also have $60,000 in under-insured motorist coverage. In this situation, you can request that your insurance company pay the difference, totaling $40,000.

Depending on what insurance policy you have, you may only see it pay for anything over the liability coverage of the at-fault driver.

It will help to look an example of this situation as well. You could find yourself having $60,000 in medical costs. The at-fault driver could have liability insurance for bodily injuries capped at $50,000. You would also have $10,000 in under-insured motorist coverage In this scenario, your insurance company can decide to forfeit paying the remainder of $10,000 of medical costs you incurred. This is a result of your under-insured motorist coverage limit being lower than that of the at-fault driver’s limit.


An Attorney Can Increase the Amount You Are Compensated

There are several situations where you can negotiate a claim for personal injury protection and collision coverage. These are usually minor injuries affecting soft tissue. It can be a strained muscle, bruise, or mild whiplash. None of these would necessitate using an attorney. There is no need in these cases to provide proof someone else is responsible for an accident.


You will be compensated for any medical costs, wages lost, and car repairs. However, you will not receive any damages for emotional anguish.


If you are a victim that has a serious injury, you will require the services of an attorney. This is especially true if the at-fault driver was uninsured or under-insured. Any severe injuries such as internal bleeding, brain injuries, and spinal cord damage will need an attorney’s help. This is because these are expensive problems to rectify and an attorney can help ensure your expenses are covered.


Since serious injuries cost lots of money, your insurance company will resort to tactics which lower the amount they pay. You will require an attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve. The areas of compensation they can help you with include the following:

  • Claims against uninsured drivers
  • Claims against under-insured drivers
  • Claims for wrongful death
  • Lawsuits against an accident-causing driver


A lawsuit can become complex when an uninsured or under-insured driver is involved. However, this also means the compensation payouts for injured victims can be significant.


An insurance company will sometimes go against the state’s own insurance rules. When they act in bad faith, an attorney will help you get significantly more money in additional damages.


Given how much money is on the line in uninsured and under-insured claims, you should not go at this alone. You are going into an agreement with an attorney risk-free given the lack of obligation when inquiring with an attorney. Learn what an attorney can do for you by contacting Nakase Law Firm at (619) 550-1321.

Personal Injury Law in CA

CALIFORNIA PERSONAL INJURY LAW

Personal injury law is one of the most important laws of California which establishes and ensures legal framework and legal allegations for imposing liabilities, particularly involving civil rights for any harm or injuries caused by the reckless, careless, harmful intentional acts, attacks and omissions of others.

If you are ever involved in the personal injury in California, it is your duty to understand your rights, even if you are responsible for the reckless acts or the victim of any harmful act. Here are some of the most important personal injury laws in California which you must know before hiring a personal injury lawyer or before claiming any personal injury insurance in California. The laws which might have a great impact on your personal injury claim in California are:

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

It is a rule in almost every country that the drivers, whether driving a car or a bike should stop at a distant which is marked on the roads to give way to the pedestrians who are crossing by the crosswalk.

Even if it’s not marked, it is the responsibility of every driver to stop at a safe distance and let the pedestrians cross the road. On the other side, it is the responsibility of the pedestrians to not step on the crosswalk quickly. To avoid the potential risk and hazards of an accident, the pedestrians should wait a while before stepping on the cross walk.

Pedestrians are advised to walk only when the signal shows a ‘walk sign’. As soon as the walk signal illuminates, the pedestrians should walk straight, in the direction of the walk signal. Pedestrians are advised to follow the walk signal as it tells the right direction or the way to cross. They are strictly not advised to step on the crosswalk if the walk signal is not illuminated, especially if the vehicles are going by.

Pedestrians should keep a good distance with the vehicles even if the cross walk is not marked. These are one of the laws of the Personal injury law act in California.

DRIVING LAWS

There are certain roads laws and driving regulations that the motorists must abide by in order to avoid road rages. These are the following laws:

PASSING

If the drivers or the motorists need to pass, they can only pass to the left and that too, at a safe distance with other vehicles. Moreover, they must also stay in the passing lane until it is completely safe to return back to the right lane. Another law incorporated is that the drivers must not ever increase their driving speeds while passing to the left lane or else it can increase the risk of road hazards.

FOLLOWING

A driver should be at a good distance with the other vehicles. He should always be at a safe distance with the other vehicles and that too, at a reasonable and prudent. Moreover, he must be very observant and careful towards the speed and the distance of other vehicles. He should also be careful about his speed during harsh traffic conditions.

TURNING LEFT

Professional drivers must follow basic traffic rules and the basic traffic rule is that before turning left, they must give an appropriate signal so that they can pass on to the left lane safely from the right lane.

INTERSECTIONS

There are many times when two drivers are crossing an intersection simultaneously, the driver who is on the left must yield a good space or way to the driver who’s on the right. This is the basic rule of driving a car on the road.

MOBILE DEVICES

It is strictly prohibited for the driver to use a mobile phone or any electronic device while driving. As a motorist, it is his responsibility to not operate any electronic gadget unless it is being operated by voice or being operated using a hands-free. The drivers can use the hands-free or the Bluetooth system to send, listen or receive any text message or a voice message.

MOTORCYCLE LAWS

All motor drivers are required to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle and they must also turn on the lights in their motor cycles if the road is not visible or at times of darkness.

INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

According to the personal injury law in California, vehicles owners should have an insurance policy which covers liable expenses. The insurance requirements are as follows:

  • $15,000 per vehicle owner.
  • $30,00 for more than a person.
  • $5,000 on per damage occurrence in the vehicle.

California has an insurance checking system in which the responsible authority checks each and every vehicle, whether a car or a motorcycle to see if they have the required insurance policy.

Moreover, they also find out if they have the insurance policy provides liable coverage of any death, injury or property damage. If for instance, the driver is held responsible for the death of the pedestrian or another driver just because he was drunk or intoxicated, he will have a civil lawsuit filed against him right away.

DUTY TO GIVE INFORMATION AND RENDER AID

A driver who is responsible for causing any injury to the person or any property damage must stop at the accident. Or else, he will be violating a rule of personal injury law in California.

They would also render or provide aid to the victim and also provide their information so that the driver can claim the liable coverage easily. A driver is also required to report any such incident or road rage to the California Highway Patrol or to the traffic authorities of California.

DRAM SHOP LAW

Dram shop is basically a shop which serves alcohol to the drivers who are intoxicated. A dram show owner can be held responsible and would be paying liable coverage if he serves alcohol to the driver who had just been responsible for any injury to the other person or in worst case responsible for the death of any patron. Moreover, any dram shop can also be charged with heavy fine if he serves alcohol to a minor.

DOG BITES

Many states in the United States have one dog bite rule. This rule protects the dog owners if his or her dog bite any pedestrian, other driver or patrol. This law basically lifts off the liable coverage from the dog owner. However, California is not one of these states.

The personal injury law in California imposes liable coverage to the drivers whose dogs have bitten any patrol, pedestrian or any driver. If the dog bites someone in a public place, the dog owner or the person with the dog can be held liable and have to pay the liable coverage under any circumstances.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Medical malpractice is a term in personal injury law in California which refers to the healthcare or the medical provider or practitioner who violates the healthcare standards and does not render appropriate health care services to the patient. However, it is obligatory that this breach in the healthcare standard must cause injury to the patient or else, he won’t be held liable.

The standard of healthcare refers to all the procedures and the medical practices which are accepted throughout the United States of America. Moreover, it is the responsibility of every health practitioner to use the same processes and treatment to both the persons who are suffering from the same condition. The standard can vary when it comes to the age, health and the financial stability of the patient.

Medical malpractice is way different than making a mistake during a surgery. This mistake must not cause death but should cause injury to the patient. According to the personal injury law in California, this injury can occur at anytime during the medical treatment. The processes in which injury will be considered are medical care, diagnosis, conducting checkups or prescribing medication.

If a medical plaintiff wants to sue a patient, they must go through additional procedural advancements. They must inform the hospital or health care center authorities at least 90 days beforehand before filing a complaint or a case against a patient. This is the required information that you might need:

  • The legal basis or the reason of the claim.
  • The type of damage to the property or life sustained.
  • The nature or the type of injuries suffered by the plaintiff.

In case if the legal notice is served within the 90 days of filing a complaint, the date of execution or at the date at which the lawsuit will begin will be after 90 extended days.

Medical malpractice cases subjected by the plaintiffs might also need a hefty attorney’s fee. A personal injury lawyer in California is charged by this pattern:

  • If first $50,000 are recovered, then 40%.
  • If first $50,000 are recovered, then 33%.
  • If first $500,000 are recovered, then 25%.
  • 15% of any value greater than $600,000.

For instance, if a person who has filed a complain needs $75,000, the attorney’s fee that he would need would be $184,000.

PRODUCT DEFECTS

Personal injury lawyers in California are also hired due to the personal injury case due to defective products. Before filing a complaint, a plaintiff must establish the following requirements:

The defendant must had manufactured, designed or sold that defective product.

The product must have had damaged or had a defect when in defendant’s possession.

The plaintiff utilized the defected products in a foreseeable way.

Any harm was caused to the plaintiff by the defective product.

However, a jury will have the decision whether the plaintiff took precautions while using the product or used it in an inappropriate way.

The personal injury law in California states a plaintiff should strictly hold a defendant liable of his products even if he misused it.

These are the defects which can hold a defendant liable:

  • Manufacturing defects.
  • Design defects.
  • Warning defects.

NEGLIGENCE

Most cases that are brought to the personal injury lawyers in California revolve around the theory of pure negligence. It requires the following legal elements to file a personal injury case:

The defendant is liable to pay the plaintiff a duty care.

The defendant violated or breached the standards of providing the duty care.

The plaintiff is caused an injury and is harmed.

Negligence from the defendant was the prime reason of harm to the plaintiff.

Laws of duty of care are devised by the government. A perfect example of it is the failure to provide supervision to the children in the children care center by the teachers. Or, not following the traffic rules. Definitely, the jury will decide whether the defendant responsibly cared or showed negligence.

PREMISES LIABILITY

Premises liability is the term which refers to the liability of the real estate or property owners. It includes fall and slip accidents, dog bites, construction accidents or injury caused by negligence of the third person in the property or the house.

Here are the things which will be considered by the personal injury lawyers:

  • The proximity of the injury to the plaintiff.
  • The type of the moral blame put by the plaintiff to the defendant.
  • The negligence of the harm.
  • The certainty of the injury caused to the plaintiff.
  • Future injury prevention policies.
  • The availability of the insurance involved in the risk.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

Statue of the limitations is actually the amount of time that you have to wait in order to file a lawsuit related to the personal injury in California.

PURE COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE RULE

This rule is also established in the personal injury law that more than one person can also be at fault. In this situation, people who are at fault will be compared and a person who is at more fault need to pay higher than the other person.

DAMAGE CAPS AND LIMITS

Economic damages are those damages which have a certain monetary value tag with them. They are easy to quantify. It includes loss of wages, medical expenses or the expenses of a car accident. Non-economic damages are those who do not have a monetary value attached to them.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES

Non-economic damages in medical malpractices can be capped at more than $250,000.

CONTACTING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER IN CALIFORNIA

If you are ever injured in California and would like to hire a personal injury, then you must know about your civil and legal rights. For that, you need to hire an exceptionally good personal injury lawyer in California. He can explain you your legal rights and can even establish your network with your insurance company. Moreover, your personal injury lawyer can also set up meetings with your defendant.

While getting a personal injury lawyer, it is essential to hire a personal injury lawyer who is experienced and have dealt with the same case before. For instance, medical malpractices and defective products’ case.

Most of the personal injury lawyers are paid on the basis of contingency.  It means that they won’t be paid until they have won the case. If in case the plaintiff loses the case, the personal injury lawyer won’t get paid for his services.

A personal injury lawyer can have the legal costs but he won’t be able to get the legal fee. Legal costs include copying charges, filing costs, phone costs, costs paid to the witnesses and litigation process costs. It is up to the personal injury lawyer if he wants to take the legal costs in advance. This information must be added in the retainer agreement with the personal injury lawyer in California.

Free consultation: 619-550-1321