Malibu Uninsured Motorist Car Accident Lawyer
Malibu is a great place to live, with sweeping mountain vistas and pristine beaches. It’s also a popular place to visit, whether you’re getting married, having a reunion party with old friends, or just need to get away for the weekend. But not everyone who visits respects the locals and sometimes those parties get out of hand. You had just backed out of your driveway and were on your way to meet some friends when someone with out-of-state plates lurched out in front of you and abruptly stopped, causing an accident.
Turns out, they were checking their phone for directions to the nearest grocery store but didn’t bother to pay attention. You also discover that they don’t have valid insurance coverage. They thought they did, but they allowed their policy to expire just a few weeks ago. Now you’re suffering from severe headaches, nausea, dizzy spells, and memory lapses. You suspect a concussion and will need plenty of follow-up care.
After getting the proper medical attention (always the first priority), you’ll also want to contact an experienced Malibu uninsured motorist lawyer at Walch Law. You need to file a claim for your substantial injuries and damage to your car, but it could get complicated considering the at-fault driver’s lack of coverage. We’ll discuss the basics of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, injury claims, and more.Uninsured Motorist Coverage Requirements in California
You’re fully insured because you know liability coverage is required by state law. Liability insurance covers property damage, bodily injury, and other damages claimed by other parties when you’re the at-fault driver. Failure to carry adequate liability insurance (or any insurance at all) can lead to steep fines and even the impoundment of your automobile. If you lack adequate insurance and are at-fault for an accident, the California DMV could suspend your license for up to four years.
Okay, but that doesn’t help you. But since you’re insured, you also have coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. It’s also required by law and serves as a backup of sorts. This means your own insurer has you covered, but keep in mind that it’s not a slam-dunk and can get a little complicated (which is why you want to work with a Malibu uninsured motorist lawyer). The at-fault driver likely will face other sanctions, such as points on their license, but may not have to pay a dime for your injuries.
You’re required under state law to carry the following policies for injuries and property damage caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist:
- Bodily injury: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
- Property damage: $3,500 minimum (may be waived if rejected in writing)
Most car accidents involve the negligence of one or more parties. To be negligent is to owe someone a duty of care (such as the requirement to follow the rules of the road and pay attention). When someone fails to act in a reasonable manner (such as pulling in front of you and stopping abruptly to look at one’s phone), it’s referred to as a breach. When this breach causes an accident and injuries, you may claim monetary damages for your injuries.
Most claims are settled with insurance companies, but the injured party (the plaintiff) must be able to prove the following elements in order to prevail in a negligence claims:
- The at-fault driver (the defendant) owed a duty to the plaintiff
- 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
- 5. The plaintiff suffered actual damages, such as bodily injury
To be clear, insurance companies are not in the business of paying out high-dollar claims for injuries or property damage; they’re businesses and therefore want to turn a profit. So even though your insurance company “has your back” when an uninsured motorist causes your injuries, it doesn’t mean they’re motivated to cut a big check. And if they offer a quick settlement, make sure you speak with your attorney first. It’s always apparent how much that injury will really cost you or whether that head injury will cause lasting damage.
It’s also important to understand that California law allows insurers to deduct any money that’s paid out-of-pocket by the at-fault driver (or, if they’re underinsured, by their insurance company). So, if your claim is for $150,000 and the other party’s insurer maxes out at $50,000—leaving a balance of $100,000—your insurer may subtract the $50,000 you’ve already been paid and reimburse you just $50,000. Your attorney will be able to work out the best possible settlement.Contact a Skilled Attorney for Your Uninsured Motorist Claim
Even a simple insurance claim isn’t nearly as simple as it may seem when an uninsured motorist is responsible for your injuries. If you’ve been injured by a motorist who lacks proper coverage, make sure you work with credible legal counsel. Call the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation today to learn more. We have over four decades of experience helping Malibu car accident victims and would love to help you too! Get in touch with us now!