Car accidents happen. The unfortunate reality is that sometimes one or more parties involved in an accident do not have auto insurance. If you’ve been in an accident where the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured, or you want to be prepared in case you are ever stuck in this predicament, this article may have the answers you are seeking.
California is a liability state, which means you have the legal right to sue if you are ever struck by a motorist who is not properly insured. The driver who is declared at fault can be held financially responsible, even if he or she is uninsured or underinsured.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
When hit by an uninsured motorist, you may be faced with lost wages, seemingly astronomical medical expenses and high property damage. To protect yourself, be certain that your auto insurance policy includes uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. In the unfortunate event that you’re involved in an accident caused by a driver without sufficient coverage, your insurance will cover the damages.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage already, be sure to report the accident to your insurance company or hire an attorney to report the accident without delay. Most insurance companies only give the policy holder a maximum of 30 days to report an accident.
How to Handle an Accident with an Uninsured Driver at the Scene
The process of handling an accident at the scene is essentially the same whether the other driver has insurance or not. Here are a few vital steps you should take in preparation of your car insurance claim:
- Contact the Police
Make sure that the police have a record of the accident if at all possible. Having the police on the scene can help the claim process run more smoothly with your insurance company. Sometimes the police will only show up if there are physical injuries. If the police cannot make it to the scene of the accident, stay calm and follow the next steps.
- Take Photos of the Scene and Damage
After the accident, be sure to take photos of the scene. This includes photos showing as much of the street, impact and damage as possible as well as close ups of scratches and dents in the cars or skid marks on the road. Include photos of anything you think may be helpful.
- Exchange Information with the Other Driver
After an auto collision, it is very important to exchange information. This generally includes getting photos of the driver’s license and insurance policy. Taking down the other driver’s phone number can also be an asset for the future. If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information as well.
- If Injured, Call a Personal Injury Attorney
Being involved in a car accident can be a very challenging situation, and the process of recovering from the incident can be long and arduous. Consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your situation can save you time and help you get fair compensation for your injuries and emotional strain. By speaking to a personal injury attorney before the insurance company, you have the best possible chance to get what you need and deserve.
When you file a lawsuit after an accident, there will likely be court proceedings. The court will determine how much the other driver needs to pay if they were at fault.
Dealing with courts and insurance companies by yourself can be both time consuming and ineffective. Although you’ve faithfully paid your insurance premiums, the insurance company may try to make the smallest payout possible while leaving you with little recourse.
Through hiring a personal injury lawyer, you’ll gain a professional by your side to help you navigate the entire process and get the best benefits possible.
- If Not Injured, Contact All Parties’ Insurance Companies
Promptly opening a claim with both insurance companies (or just yours if the other party is uninsured) will help resolve your issues quickly. If more than two cars are involved in the collision, be sure to open a claim with each of their respective insurance providers as well.
- Seek Medical Treatment for Any Injuries and Get Your Car Fixed
If you were injured in the collision, medical expenses are highly likely. The insurance company for the at-fault driver generally covers medical expenses, but in an uninsured motorist situation, it may fall onto your own health insurance. In this situation, you may be forced to pay the deductible out of pocket. If you find you are injured after leaving the scene and contacting insurance, it is not too late to contact a personal injury attorney to help. The faster you make the call, the more likely your bills and damages will be covered.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been involved in a car accident and need help with your claim, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Rabban at 818-272-8882 or visit www.rabbanlaw.com.