All drivers in California are required to maintain minimum liability coverage. However, many drivers do not obey the law. If an uninsured driver causes your car accident, you could end up with thousands of dollars in financial losses and damages that you must pay. You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver, but you might only get a worthless paper judgment that you will never be able to collect.
However, if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your car insurance policy, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages through your insurance company.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Cover?
Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance is an optional insurance coverage you can purchase with your liability insurance policy. The premiums for UM policies are usually very low, so it is wise to purchase at least some UM coverage.
When an uninsured driver injures you, you can file a claim for damages against your UM coverage. You should be able to receive compensation that you could receive if the at-fault driver had liability insurance coverage. Damages in your UM claim include:
- Past and future cost of medical care
- Past and future personal care expenses
- Past and future loss of income and benefits
- Pain and suffering damages
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Disability and impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Other out-of-pocket expenses and costs
The value of your claim depends on the facts of your case. Your insurance company is only liable up to your policy limits, so consider high limits to provide the best protection against accidents caused by uninsured motorists.
How Do I File an Uninsured Motorist Claim?
The process of filing a UM claim is the same as filing an insurance claim against the other driver. You notify your insurance company of the accident and open a claim. The company assigns a claims adjuster to investigate the accident and value the claim. If the adjuster agrees that the company is liable, the adjuster calculates the value of the claim and makes you an offer. You can either accept or reject the offer of settlement.
Unfortunately, this overly-simplified version of filing an uninsured motorist claim is the exception instead of the rule.
Consider the following:
- Your insurance company is the same as all other insurance companies – it is in business to make a profit. Therefore, it wants to pay as little as possible to settle your claim.
- Your claim is treated as any other claim. Therefore, the adjuster may use unfair insurance tactics to undervalue or deny your insurance claim.
- You are not working with our insurance agent, so the care and concern you may be accustomed to receiving when you pay your insurance premiums may not be present.
- To recover compensation, you must prove that the other driver caused the accident. If the insurance company believes it can blame you for the crash to get out of paying a claim, it will probably do so.
Even though you are dealing with your insurance provider for a UM claim, the same advice applies. You should talk to a car accident attorney as soon as possible about your claim. Learn about your legal rights and your options from a trusted legal advocate for accident victims. Do not agree to provide a statement, sign documents, or discuss the claim in detail until you speak with an attorney.
Protect Your Legal Rights by Calling a Sacramento Accident Lawyer for Help
If you have questions or want to discuss your claim further, call (916) 999-9000 now for a free consultation with one of our Sacramento accident lawyers.