Van Nuys Uninsured Motorist Accident Legal Help
Traffic in Van Nuys and throughout the Greater Los Angeles area can get pretty crazy, with rush “hour” lasting the better part of the day. Since you work in Culver City, you have to take the 405 most mornings. You’re thankful you have a safe vehicle (it’s a Volvo) and a pretty good insurance policy. But you know that not everyone follows the law, which means there must be a decent percentage of motorists in Van Nuys (and beyond) driving without any liability insurance whatsoever on any given day. What happens if they cause an accident and you become seriously injured? Are you simply out of luck?
Not quite, although injury claims involving uninsured or underinsured motorists are a bit more tricky to sort out. In fact, you probably should consider working with a trusted Van Nuys uninsured motorist lawyer at Walch Law if you ever find yourself in this scenario. The following is a primer of how uninsured / underinsured motorist insurance works, some complications to keep in mind when filing such claims, and related matters.Uninsured Motorist Coverage and California Law
You know that motorists are required to carry a certain minimum amount of liability insurance coverage, which covers the injuries caused to others when the policyholder is at fault. This requirement helps ensure a certain level of accountability, given the frequency of automobile accidents, especially in car-centric California. Without this coverage, at-fault drivers are still liable, but it may be more difficult to get them to pay what is owed.
But, as you’ve often contemplated, not everyone does what the law requires. So what happens if someone fails to carry the required amount of liability insurance? Sanctions include fines, vehicle impoundment, and license suspension. But what about the injured party? Thankfully, you have the required coverage, which means you also have uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage for just this kind of a situation.
California law requires the following minimum coverage for accidents caused by uninsured/underinsured motorists:
- Bodily injury: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
- Property damage: $3,500 minimum (may be waived if rejected in writing)
- If an at-fault motorist lacks insurance, you’ll file your injury claim with your own insurance company. However, you'll probably want to speak with a Van Nuys uninsured motorist lawyer first.
By far, most car accidents stem from the negligence of one or more parties. The term negligence refers to a party’s failure to act in a reasonable manner, also referred to as a breach of one’s duty of care (or legal requirement to act in a reasonable manner, such as following the traffic laws) to another party. If this breach results in an accident that causes injury, then they may be held liable for negligence and thus responsible for compensating you monetarily.
For the most part, accident claims are settled with insurance companies. However, the plaintiff still must establish negligence by proving the existence of the following elements:
- 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
- The plaintiff suffered actual damages, such as bodily injury
Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, so they’re not going to necessarily give you the full amount of your claim or help you add damages that you may not have considered at first (such as diminished quality of life or pain and suffering). Therefore, you’ll want to avoid accepting any early offers that may undercut what you should be paid.
It’s also important to understand that California law allows insurers to subtract any amount paid by the at-fault party’s insurance company (or out-of-pocket payments) from the balance. For example, if your claim is for $200,000 and the other party’s insurer maxes out at $50,000—leaving a balance of $150,000—your insurer may subtract the $50,000 you’ve already been paid and reimburse you just $100,000. That’s $50,000 shy of your claim for damages. An attorney can help you get the most out of your claim.Get Help From an Experienced Van Nuys Uninsured Motorist Lawyer
You followed the law and carry the required amount of insurance, so why should you pay for the failure of another motorist to do the same? While your own uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage should help, it’s not necessarily a straightforward process. Call the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation today and get the compensation you deserve. How much is your car accident uninsured driver case worth? We can go over that and all your questions during your obligation-free initial consultation with us. Call today to get started!