Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is always stressful. There are injuries to treat, damages to your vehicle to fix, and medical bills to worry about. But what if the other driver doesn’t have insurance? Even though California law requires all drivers to carry proper auto insurance, not everyone on the road will have coverage. So how do you go about obtaining compensation for your losses?
If you were in a car accident with an uninsured driver in California, speak to an experienced Orange County car accident attorney at Russell & Lazarus APC. We can help guide you through the claims process.
How to File an Uninsured Motorist Claim
If you were involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can either sue the other motorist for damages or file a claim for uninsured motorist benefits with your own insurance company. Uninsured Motorist Coverage Claim (UM) is often the easiest way to receive compensation for injury or damage to your vehicle. Insurance companies in California are required to offer UM or receive a signed waiver if you decide not to purchase it.
UM coverage gives you the ability to reach a damages settlement with your insurance company. It takes over the liability from an at-fault driver who did not have insurance. It’s best to retain a car accident attorney to help guide you through the UM settlement process, especially if you have more serious injuries.
Your insurance company will require a signed statement from the other driver admitting they do not have insurance before it will settle with you.
What If I Don’t Have UM Coverage?
You may be able to obtain some compensation even if you lack UM coverage. Potential compensation includes:
- Collision Coverage: It might be possible to have your insurance company pay for your vehicle repair. Some companies will charge you a deductible if you decide to go down this route.
- Medical Payments Coverage: You may be able to receive compensation for hospital bills if you have medical coverage. Most coverage policies come with a deductible.
Choosing to buy into UM coverage is best if you want to ward off issues after an accident with an uninsured driver. It is relatively inexpensive and will save you a lot of hassle.
How Can I Sue the Other Driver?
The second legal option you have after getting into an accident with an uninsured driver is to work with an attorney to sue the other driver. You should only consider this option if you don’t have UM coverage since most uninsured drivers will not have a lot of money.
If an insured driver doesn’t have a lot of money, courts have the ability to arrange a payment plan so you can receive compensation. However, this option is generally pretty financially undesirable for a couple of reasons:
- The scheduled payments you do receive could be so small that it would not be worth the time for you and your attorney to pursue.
- Any stoppage in the payments will necessitate a return to court. This can chew up a lot of your time and money. This is especially true if you have to hire an attorney for the case again.
However, your accident attorney might be able to file a lien on an uninsured driver if a credit check reveals other assets. A lien would freeze the additional assets and allow the lawsuit to continue so you could potentially receive compensation.
If You Were in a Car Accident With an Uninsured Driver in California
If you were in a car accident with an uninsured driver in California, speak to an experienced accident attorney. Russell & Lazarus APC can guide your through the process of filing an uninsured motorist claim or suing an insured driver. Contact us today for a case evaluation.