Oak Park Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyer
Drivers in the greater Los Angeles area have a reputation for being aggressive and sometimes erratic. While Oak Park, in Ventura County, is considerably less hectic, driving here can be quite an adventure. That’s why it’s so important that everyone sharing the roads have adequate insurance. Of course, not everyone follows the law and not everyone carries the required amount of insurance. So what happens when you’re injured after an uninsured motorist causes an accident?
Fortunately, California law has a backup plan for such instances, which are much more common than most people may realize. If you find yourself injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, then you really should speak with an experienced Oak Park uninsured motorist lawyer at Walch Law before you file your claim. These cases can be complicated and contentious and our goal is to get you paid the most following your uninsured motorist accident. Whether it was a hit and run or the driver just doesn’t have insurance, we know how to win these cases. Call Walch Law now.Uninsured Motorist Requirements and California Law
The most common type of accident Californians, and indeed all Americans, experience are those involving motor vehicles. While driving has become much safer than it once was, it’s still a relatively dangerous activity that people do every day. That’s why California law requires motorists to carry a base level of liability insurance. You’re not required to carry collision insurance, which covers property damage to your vehicle when it’s your fault, but law is mostly concerned with accountability for others. Those who fail to carry liability insurance (or don’t have enough coverage) face fines, impoundment of their vehicle, and license suspension if they cause an accident.
But while it’s good to know that laws are strict with regard to liability insurance, what about your injuries? Since you purchased appropriate coverage yourself, it means you also have a certain amount of coverage for injuries caused by uninsured motorists. California drivers must carry the following minimum coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists who are at-fault:
- • Bodily injury: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
- • Property damage: $3,500 minimum (may be waived if rejected in writing)
It’s good to know there’s a backup plan but it doesn’t mean it will necessarily be an easy or fair process, which is why you may need to contact an Oak Park uninsured motorist lawyer. They can help establish a solid claim and get you the settlement you’re owed.How Liability is Established in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Regardless of whether the at-fault driver has adequate insurance, the most common way liability is established in a car accident is negligence. This is basically a claim that the other party was careless or, in legal terms, breached their duty of care to you. A duty of care is a legal responsibility to avoid causing injury to others by acting in a manner consistent with that of a “reasonable person.” Speeding down a residential street or texting while driving are clearly unreasonable actions, so they would be considered acts of negligence in an injury claim.
You’ll have to show the existence of the following legal elements in order to establish a valid negligence claim:
- 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.Special Considerations for Uninsured Motorist Claims
California law allows insurers to deduct any amount paid by an underinsured motorist’s insurance company (or out of pocket) from the balance. 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. For this reason, you should avoid accepting any early settlement offers until after you’ve spoken with an attorney.Contact a Skilled Oak Park Uninsured Motorist Lawyer Today
It’s difficult to enforce California’s auto insurance requirements until after the fact, which is why there’s also a requirement for uninsured motorist coverage. If you’ve been injured by an uninsured (or underinsured) motorist, get in touch with the legal experts at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation.