Drivers in Los Angeles are required by California law to carry an automobile insurance policy that covers themselves and the vehicle(s) they drive. These policies must provide a certain minimal level of coverage so that, in the event of a crash, injured individuals can receive compensation for their medical expenses and damaged property can be promptly repaired. Despite this law, some motorists in California do not have an insurance policy that meets the law’s requirements – “underinsured” motorists – or do not have insurance at all – “uninsured.” A crash with an underinsured or uninsured motorist can leave a car accident victim in a great deal of physical – and financial – pain.
Why a Crash with an Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Can Hurt Your Pocketbook
After a car crash, in most cases your insurance company and/or the insurance company of the other driver(s) will pay for your costs and expenses, up to the limits of the policy or policies. When you get in a crash with an underinsured or uninsured motorist, the only car accident policy available to provide you compensation is your own – and your policy may not even do so if you do not have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. This can mean that you may be left paying for your own expenses and losses in the aftermath of a car crash.
What Can I Do About Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Crashes?
Unfortunately, there is no way to know who is an uninsured or underinsured driver until after you have been involved in a motor vehicle crash. Driving defensively and maintaining awareness of other motorists around you can help you avoid car crashes in general, so these tactics will also help you in avoiding crashes with uninsured or underinsured motorists. In addition, you should speak with your insurance agency to ensure that you are properly insured in the event of a crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
If you are involved in a car crash, try to make sure that you:
- Take note of the other vehicle(s) and driver(s) involved. Take note of the make, model, and color of the vehicle along with the license plate number of the car. Try and obtain the name and contact information of the driver: if he or she will not give this information to you, make note of the person’s physical appearance and description.
- Ask the other driver(s) involved for his or her insurance information. The driver should be able to provide you with an insurance card that lists the insurance company number, the driver’s policy number, the driver’s insurance agent, and a number to call in the event a claim needs to be filed. Take note of as much of this information as possible.
An uninsured or underinsured motorist may offer to pay for your expenses and injuries if “you won’t get the insurance companies and/or police involved.” Unless the underinsured or uninsured motorist has cash on hand to give you, refrain from making such a promise. You will unlikely know the extent of your injuries and losses at the scene of the accident, and very few individuals who promise to pay the expenses of their victims out-of-pocket actually follow through on their promise.
Finally, report every crash that you are involved in to your car crash attorney, even if you believe you may have been involved in some way in causing your crash. Your attorney can conduct an investigation into the circumstances of your accident, including attempting to identify the other driver(s) and verifying their insurance coverage. Your attorney will work on your behalf to obtain compensation for your injuries, from the insurance company and/or from the at-fault driver directly.