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Woodland Hills Uninsured Motorist Lawsuits

You were driving back home to Woodland Hills after hiking the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, relaxed and content, when suddenly a car veered over from the other lane and clipped your minivan. You struggled to regain control of your zigzagging vehicle but ended up flipping over and landing on the roof. As you took stock of what happened, you felt an intense pain in your neck and saw that you’d suffered a compound fracture in your left arm. The other motorist didn’t stop but instead sped away.

Fortunately you have a photographic memory and remembered that it was a yellow Datsun 240Z with a prominent rust spot on the right rear fender, and a Nevada license plate. The police quickly tracked down the other driver and arrested him for hit-and-run. That’s when you discovered that he was uninsured. Your minivan is totaled, your arm is seriously mangled, and you’re showing signs of concussion. To top it off, you’re a single mom and will need help with household chores but can’t afford it because you can’t work for a couple of weeks.

The best way to protect your interests is to contact a Woodland Hills uninsured motorist lawyer and get the compensation you deserve. We’ll discuss the basics of how uninsured (and underinsured) motorist coverage works, how to claim damages for your injuries, and more.

Liability Insurance for Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists

In California (as in most other states), motorists are required by law to carry insurance coverage in the event that they’re liable for property damage or injuries to others. This ensures all motorists are accountable. Motorists who fail to carry adequate insurance coverage face fines and may have their automobile impounded. If you’re involved in an accident and have inadequate liability insurance, the California DMV can suspend your license for up to four years.

Since not everyone adheres to the law, motorists are also required to carry coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists as a contingency. In the example above, the plaintiff’s injuries and totaled vehicle would be covered by her own insurance policy’s uninsured motorist policy.

California drivers must carry the following to cover injuries and property damage caused by uninsured and underinsured motorists:

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage: $3,500 minimum

Keep in mind, however, that not even your own insurance company is motivated to fully compensate you for your injuries. They would rather entice you accept a settlement agreement right away, one that may be much lower than your actual damages. Certain injuries that may not be discovered until later, such as concussion, and other damages you may not have considered may not be compensated. If you accept an offer, the claim is closed; that’s why it’s important that you consult with a Woodland Hills uninsured motorist lawyer first.

Claiming Damages for an Uninsured Motorist Claim

Whether the other party is fully insured, underinsured, or uninsured shouldn’t be a factor in how you calculate your damages (the monetary claims for injuries). Using the example above, you would probably want to claim damages to cover household chores, childcare, meal preparation, perhaps even pain and suffering, and any modifications you need to make to your home in addition to medical expenses and lost wages.

The reality, however, is that coverage for underinsured motorists doesn’t always result in fair compensation. For instance, in the event you’re involved in an accident caused by an underinsured motorist, California law allows insurers to deduct any amount paid by the at-fault driver’s insurer. Therefore, if your claim is for $200,000 and the other party’s insurer maxes out at $75,000—leaving a balance of $125,000—your insurer may subtract the $75,000 you’ve already been paid and reimburse you just $50,000.

This law also applies when an uninsured (or underinsured) motorist pays out-of-pocket. Getting help from a skilled attorney who knows how best to navigate the insurance claims process (and thoroughly calculate your damages) is crucial for getting the compensation you deserve when filing an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim.

Get Help From Experienced Woodland Hills Uninsured Motorist Lawyer Today

As you can see, claims for injuries stemming from accidents with uninsured (or underinsured) motorists aren’t as straightforward as other traffic-related claims. While it’s tempting to take the first offer that comes along, it’s in your best interest to consult with a legal professional first. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone lacking coverage, call the professionals at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, A Law Corporation at your earliest convenience.  

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