Calabasas Uninsured Motorist Accidents
Traffic in Calabasas along the 101 was backed up at least to Woodland Hills, leaving you stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on your way to work. But just as you approached the 27 exit, the guy behind you didn’t stop in time and smacked into your rear bumper. Thankfully he wasn’t going fast, but it was still a hard enough jolt to deploy the airbag and give you whiplash. At least that’s what you’re suspecting, since you’ve had neck and head pain ever since the accident.
You realized after exiting your car to exchange information that he doesn’t have auto insurance. He looked nervous because he knew that liability coverage is required by law for exactly this type of situation. Your car needs work and you’re worried about your neck, but how are you going to pay for it all? Since you have uninsured motorist coverage, which also is required, your insurance company has your back.
Or does it? In the best-case scenario, yes, they’ll compensate you for your losses in a fair and timely manner. But they also want to keep their expenses down and may try to rush through a low estimate. That’s why you should consult with a Calabasas uninsured motorist lawyer to secure your interests before agreeing to a settlement.Liability and Uninsured Motorist Coverage: It’s the Law
California requires motorists to carry a certain minimum of insurance coverage in the event that they’re responsible (or liable) for property damage or injuries to others, including passengers. This liability insurance ensures a base level of accountability on the roads. But because not everyone carries insurance as is required, motorists are also required to carry uninsured (and underinsured) motorist coverage. This way, you’re still covered even if you’re hit by an uninsured driver, with exceptions (more on that later).
The coverage amounts California drivers are required to carry are as follows:
- Bodily injury: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
- Property damage: $5,000 minimum
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage: $3,500 minimum
After reporting your claim to the insurance company, they’ll determine a value and make a settlement offer. If you accept it, your claim is closed—even if you learn later that what you thought was minor whiplash was actually a concussion or some other injury requiring further treatment or that may be longer-lasting. So it really pays to contact a Calabasas uninsured motorist lawyer first.Claiming Damages for an Uninsured Motorist Claim
First of all, you need to be sure that you’ve been properly and thoroughly evaluated by a physician. Describing how the accident happened, how you feel, any changes you’ve noticed, or anything else that could help the doctor get a complete picture of your injuries will help you get fairly compensated. Some injuries won’t be obvious right away, or at all. For instance, a sprained back that’s relatively easy to treat may present similar symptoms as a herniated disc, which can result in chronic pain and costs much more to treat. If you can’t afford immediate medical attention, we can help with that too.
But even if your recovery goes perfect from a physiological standpoint, you may still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other psychological disorders that often come from serious accidents. If you suffered it as a result of the accident, you should claim it. Your attorney can help you determine what to claim and how to value it in terms of dollars.Underinsured Motorist Coverage and its Limits
Even though you have coverage for underinsured motorists, it doesn’t always work out fairly. For example, if the total cost of your injuries exceeds the uninsured motorist’s limit, your insurance company can use the other party’s settlement as an offset against the balance (in accordance with California law). So if your injuries cost $125,000 and the other party’s insurer maxes out at $50,000—leaving a balance of $75,000—your insurer may subtract that $50,000 already paid out and cut a check for just $25,000.
If an uninsured motorist pays you out-of-pocket, the same rule applies and your insurance company may use that as an offset. That is why having a skilled attorney guiding you through the process and leading your case can be so important when you’re filing a claim against an uninsured or underinsured motorist.Get Fully Compensated for Your Calabasas Uninsured Motorist Claim
Accidents happen, especially on Southern California’s busy freeways. If the at-fault driver has adequate insurance coverage, it’s often a straight-forward process to file your claim. But things can get complicated and go sideways fast when they’re uninsured (or underinsured). Contact the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, A Law Corporation today and get your life back on track.