Camarillo Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyer
It was just another slow crawl through Camarillo traffic and back home after a long day at work; at least you have the opportunity to catch up on our favorite podcasts or blast some hip hop. But your otherwise boring commute home was suddenly interrupted when a rusty pickup decided to change lanes without signalling or even checking their mirrors. They hastily cut over into your lane and sideswiped your brand new Volvo. And despite the high safety rating of your car, you spun out and collided with another car, resulting in a serious head injury that knocked you out cold.
The driver of the pickup truck stopped and got out, uninjured, to find you sitting unconscious in the driver’s seat. Fortunately, some onlookers took notes, got the driver’s contact information, and called the police. Unfortunately, her liability insurance policy had lapsed. Your car is totalled and you’re dealing with serious head trauma, so who’s going to cover the costs of your injuries?
Filing an uninsured motorist claim means you are fighting your own insurance rather than the other drivers. At Walch Law, we know how to make sure your insurance company is not short changing you of the money you deserve. We have over 45 years experience winning these cases.Uninsured Motorist Requirements for California Drivers
Because motorists share public highways and roads, along with the risks of getting into accidents, they’re required to carry a certain level insurance coverage in order to legally drive. Since you have a new car, you also have collision insurance (in case you’re the one at fault in an accident resulting in property damage). Of course, people don’t always follow the law. The driver who hit you likely will have to pay a fine, may have her car impounded, and could have her license suspended for a few years.
Justice will be served for her failure to carry the required amount of liability insurance, but that’s cold comfort for you. Your car is trashed, you’ve been hit with massive medical bills, and you’re not quite sure what the long-term prognosis of your injury will be. Since you’ve paid your insurance premiums on time and have the lawfully required amount of coverage, it means you also have coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. So, your insurer will pick up the tab, but filing your claim may not be a slam dunk.
California drivers must carry the following minimum coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists who are at-fault for your injuries:
- Bodily injury: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
- Property damage: $3,500 minimum (may be waived if rejected in writing)
Even if the claims process seems relatively straightforward, you still may want to consider working with a Camarillo uninsured motorist lawyer. For example, an attorney can build a strong case and provide leverage when negotiating a settlement, but they also may clue you into damages (monetary claims related to your injuries) that you haven’t considered.Determining Liability for an Automobile Accident
There was nothing you could have done to avoid getting sideswiped by the pickup truck. You were driving below the speed limit (you were stuck in traffic, after all) and kept a safe following distance from the car in front of you. But the pickup truck driver swerved into your lane without warning and without even making sure it was safe to do so. Her carelessness, therefore, should establish liability for negligence. This means she owed you a duty of care, or a legal responsibility to drive carefully and in the manner of a reasonable person.
The elements of a negligence case are:
- The at-fault driver (the defendant) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (the injured party)
- The defendant breached that duty
- The plaintiff’s injuries were in fact caused by this breach
- The defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury(ies), meaning the injuries would not have happened if not for the defendant’s negligence
- The plaintiff suffered actual damages, such as bodily injury
When the driver breached her duty of care, causing the accident that left you injured (and your car totaled), she became liable for any costs (or damages) you incurred as a result. This includes not only your medical bills, damaged car, and lost wages, but also things such as pain and suffering and diminished future earnings. Your attorney will be able to help you fully assess your damages.Why You Need a Camarillo Uninsured Motorist Lawyer
Uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage provides a backstop when the at-fault driver doesn’t have the required coverage, but it can get complicated. For one, California law allows insurers to deduct any amount paid by an underinsured motorist’s insurance company (or out of pocket) from the balance. This may seem logical at first glance, but the devil’s in the details. For instance, if the at-fault driver pays you $5,000 out of pocket for your $50,000 claim—leaving a balance of $45,000—your insurance company may deduct that amount and give you just $40,000.Contact a Skilled Camarillo Attorney for Your Claim
Because of the potential complications involved in an uninsured / underinsured motorist accident claim, it’s often a good idea to work with legal counsel. But don’t just call any attorney, get in touch with the legal experts at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation. Don’t think you can afford a lawyer? You can afford us! We take all our cases on a contingency fee basis meaning you don’t pay us a thing until we get you paid.