After a car accident injury, you may feel comfort knowing that your insurance company and/or the other driver’s insurance company will help pay for your medical treatment and other damages. Sometimes, however, you may find out that the other driver is uninsured or does not have enough coverage through their insurance to pay for your injuries. You could still be entitled to receive compensation. Our San Jose car accident lawyers explain your potential options if you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver in California.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage in California
Car insurance is mandatory in California. Having liability coverage is also mandatory. In California, individuals must carry:
- Minimum bodily injury liability of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
- Minimum property damage liability of $5,000
However, there are many drivers out there who are uninsured or underinsured relative to the damage they have caused. Because of this, it is best that you have plenty of coverage from your own insurance company to cover your damages.
As such, consider purchasing uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage from your insurance company in the highest amount that you can afford. It protects you in the event that you suffer injuries in a car accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist. In California, you can obtain uninsured motorist (UM) coverage when you purchase auto insurance.
What Do I Do if I Am in a Car Accident With an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
No matter your situation, you should always follow a few important steps after a car accident. These steps include, but are not limited to:
- Call 9-1-1 to come to the accident scene.
- Exchange information with the other driver, such as name, contact information (including phone number and email address), drivers license numbers and insurance information (including policy number).
- Take pictures and/or videos of the crash scene, property damage and injuries.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
These steps can help you protect your potential car accident claim.
Filing a Claim With Your Insurance Company
If you were in a car accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance or is underinsured, your insurance company may cover your medical costs, but only if you have the appropriate amount of coverage.
Your insurance can pay for the difference should the underinsured driver’s insurance policy be unable to pay for all of your costs. The amount of coverage you receive will be dependent on the policy you purchase. If you do not have UM or UIM coverage, your insurance company may not pay for the damages you sustained in the accident.
Filing a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver
You can file a lawsuit against an uninsured or underinsured driver, but may struggle to get compensated for your injuries. Even if you prove your case successfully, the lack of insurance by the other driver means you may not get much money from them to pay for damages. Again, you may have to turn to your own insurance company to help cover costs.
Hit By an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist? Contact Our San Jose Car Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, contact a car accident attorney in California who can offer legal advice for advancing your case. The car accident lawyers at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP have years of experience helping injured clients get the compensation they deserve for their medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. Schedule a free consultation with us online or call us at (408) 956-6949.