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After losing their jobs in the economic downturn due to the COVID pandemic, some California drivers are opting to drop their auto insurance plans to help save money. Under California law, you’re required to maintain insurance on your vehicle. That doesn’t mean that everyone complies with this law – a sad fact that too many people discover after they’ve gotten into an accident.
If you were counting on the at-fault party’s insurance to cover your medical bills because you’ve been hurt, you may find that drivers, who are now unable to maintain the expense of insurance, may either have no insurance or not enough insurance to cover your loss.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 36.5 million Americans have already lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus. Many are now opting to eliminate their insurance policies all together. In fact, Value Penguin reported that more than 15% of California drivers are uninsured. This may be problematic when you get in an accident with these drivers, as it may require you to rely on your own insurance coverage or umbrella policy to recoup your accident loss and expenses.
However, if you have neither uninsured motorist (UMC), under-insured motorist (UIM) nor umbrella coverage, it may be difficult to obtain recovery for your losses. Seeking assistance from your own insurance company on a claim for damages that others caused can often be difficult to navigate through the claims filing process. Hiring an attorney to help you determine your rights and what to do next can help during this confusing time.
Accident with an Uninsured Motorist
For any victim in a vehicle accident, the uninsured driver presents more significant risks. In many cases, they tend to have lower income and fewer assets than those drivers with insurance. This means that it might be difficult for you to collect damages from the other driver for car repair bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses you sustain after a car accident in California.
The amount you can recover will vary depending on the coverage available on yours and the other driver’s insurance coverage, including liability, UMC, UIM and umbrella policies. An umbrella policy in California gives you the most coverage to assist in covering excess losses.
However, the coverage on your policies and the limits that each will pay can be complicated and often vary from one insurance company to another. Hiring an attorney at a premium personal injury firm, like Dunnion Law, to help you review the various policies involved and understand how they apply in your case can be your best option.
The Basics of Your Uninsured Motorist Policy
When you have an active auto insurance policy in California, opting into additional uninsured (UMC) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) can provide you with added protection. These coverage options can be essential if you get into an accident with someone who does not have adequate insurance or has no insurance at all. This coverage can help pay for your medical bills and other losses and recover the costs of your medical treatment, loss and damages. Auto insurance companies in California are required to offer UMC/UIM coverage, although neither are mandatory for a client to carry.
Having either a UMC or UIM policy can give you peace of mind. Even if you have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking at your bills for opportunities to trim expenses, removing this coverage from your active policy should be closely considered. Removing this coverage can be especially problematic as people eventually get back on the roads. You may be more likely to get into an accident with a driver who has no coverage at all, which may result in significant problems determining how your loss and damages will be paid.
If you retained optional uninsured motorists coverage (UMC) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM, it could kick in to help with your expenses. If you have an umbrella policy, this too, could help cover your costs.
What to know about submitting a claim
On most insurance policies following a California vehicle accident, a driver is responsible for notifying their insurance company immediately after an accident, regardless of who caused the crash.
When filing a car accident claim in California, you need to notify your insurance company immediately after the accident occurs. Regardless of whether or not someone else is at fault for the accident, you need to call your own auto insurance policy .
In some cases, your car insurance policy might not cover all the damages and expenses you incurred from the accident. In that situation, you have to turn to filing a lawsuit to obtain compensation. If you didn’t purchase uninsured motorist coverage on your own car insurance policy, a lawsuit might be your only way to get compensation, and should be handled by a California car accident lawyer.
Recovering Damages When Struck by an Uninsured Motorist
If you have already been seriously hurt in an accident, schedule a consultation with our experienced California lawyers today. Our California personal injury lawyers have a track record of working hard on behalf of our vehicle accident clients; we know how this has turned your life upside down and we take your care seriously from day one. Even when events, like the COVID pandemic, occur, accidents still happen and people get injured. When they do, Dunnion Law is on your side.
Dunnion Law can provide phone and virtual consultations with clients so there’s no reason to wait for the support that you need.