Traditionally, liability insurance offers users financial protection in the event that they are held liable for causing any damage or injury to another party. If you have liability insurance and you cause a car accident, chances are you’ll be able to pay for any expenses the other party incurs.
But does that same coverage mean that you’ll be provided for if you’re not responsible for the accident?
Below we’ll cover the different types of liability insurance, how it differs from standard self-coverage car insurance, and why you may want to contact a car accident attorney if you need help recovering damages after a car accident.
Today, Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law have helped countless drivers recover from the stress, expense, and overall damage that life-changing car accidents can bring. Give us a call at (559) 878-4958 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.
What to Do if You Have Liability Insurance and You Hit Someone?
If you only have liability insurance and you are at fault for a car accident that causes damage to another person’s vehicle, the insurance will cover the cost of repairs or even pay to replace the other driver’s vehicle (up to your policy limits).
Immediately after the accident, here are the steps you should take:
- Stop and Check for Injuries: If you are involved in an accident, stop your vehicle immediately, and check for any injuries. If someone is injured, call 911 for medical assistance.
- Exchange Information: Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses.
- Report the Accident: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with all the details of the accident, including any injuries or property damage. Don’t openly admit fault, but do honestly relay the events of the accident and any critical details included in the report.
- Cooperate with Your Insurance Company: Your insurance company will investigate the accident and determine who is at fault. Cooperate with your insurance company throughout the claims process.
- Pay the Deductible: If the accident is covered under your liability insurance, you will be responsible for paying the deductible before the insurance company pays for the damages.
If the damages exceed your policy limits, you may be personally responsible for paying the remaining costs. It is always a good idea to carry adequate insurance coverage to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
What Should I Do if I Only Have Liability Insurance and Someone Else Hits Me in a Car Accident?
If you only have liability insurance and someone else hits you in a car accident, your liability insurance will not cover the damage to your vehicle. However, the other driver’s liability insurance should cover the cost of repairs or replacement of your vehicle.
That is, of course, assuming they are found to be at fault for the accident.
Make sure to collect the other driver’s insurance and contact information immediately. Touch base with any witnesses at the scene.
You’ll need all of this information to successfully file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
You’ll also need to document the accident and report it — if possible, by requesting a police respondent come to the scene — to create a detailed police report. In any case, you’ll need to report the accident to the other driver’s insurance company as soon as possible.
Make sure to cooperate with their insurance company, but note that these companies can be extremely intimidating, so it may be to your advantage to hire a lawyer to oversee the necessary proceedings.
Your lawyer can also help you file an estimate for the repairs you need covered after the accident to ensure your vehicle is up and driving as soon as possible.
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Liability Insurance?
If the other driver does not have liability insurance but is at fault for the accident, you may have to pay for the damages to your vehicle out of your own pocket. However, there are a few options you can explore:
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If you have uninsured motorist coverage as part of your own insurance policy, it can help cover the cost of repairs (or replacement) of your vehicle.
- Collision Coverage: If your insurance policy includes collision coverage, it can help cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, regardless of who is at fault. However, you will be responsible for paying your deductible.
- Legal Action: You can take legal action against the other driver to recover the cost of damages. However, if the other driver does not have liability insurance, they may not have the financial resources to pay for the damages.
- State Programs: Some states have programs that can help cover the cost of damages if you are hit by an uninsured driver.
What State Programs Are Available in California?
In California, the state has a program called the California Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA), which provides affordable liability insurance to low-income drivers who are unable to obtain coverage in the regular insurance market.
This program is designed to help ensure that all drivers on California roads have at least the minimum amount of liability insurance required by law.
If you are hit by an uninsured driver in California, you may be eligible for compensation through the California Victim Compensation Board. This program provides financial assistance to victims of crime, including those who are injured in car accidents caused by uninsured drivers.
The CalVCB can help cover the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident.
In addition, California law requires all drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. This coverage can help cover the cost of damages if you are hit by an uninsured driver up to the limits of your policy.
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you may be responsible for paying the full cost of damages out of your own pocket.
What Type of Car Insurance Is Required in California?
California law requires all drivers to have liability insurance coverage for their vehicles. This type of insurance is designed to provide coverage for any damages you may cause to others in a car accident.
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death to one person in an accident
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more persons in an accident
- $5,000 for property damage in an accident
Drivers in California are also required to carry proof of insurance in their vehicles at all times. This proof can be in the form of an insurance card or digital proof of insurance on your smartphone.
While liability insurance is the only type of insurance that is required by law in California, drivers can also choose to purchase additional types of insurance coverage, such as collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
These types of coverage can provide additional protection in the event of a car accident or other incident involving your vehicle.
When Should I Proceed With Legal Action?
It can be intimidating to pursue legal action after an accident, but it’s important to take legal steps to secure compensation for any damages or injuries you may have sustained in the accident.
You may want to proceed with legal action if you have been involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver and have suffered significant damages such as:
- Bodily Injury: If you have sustained bodily injuries that require medical treatment, such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic brain injuries.
- Lost Wages: If you have missed work due to your injuries and have lost income (or benefits) as a result.
- Property Damage: If your vehicle or other property was damaged or destroyed in the accident.
- Pain and Suffering: If you have experienced emotional distress or psychological trauma as a result of the accident and your injuries.
- Wrongful Death: If a loved one was killed in the accident due to the actions of an uninsured driver.
Additionally, even if the other driver does have insurance, you may still want to pursue legal action if their liability insurance policy is not sufficient to cover your damages.
In this situation, if you believe you are entitled to more compensation than what the insurance company is prepared to offer, you may want to pursue legal action.
That said, keep in mind that negotiating with insurance companies can be an intimidating, if not just time-consuming, process, so it’s always a good idea to consider lawyering up so you do not have to tackle this battle alone.
An experienced car accident attorney from the team at Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law can help you confidently fight for your rights and secure the damages you are owed.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to their offices today either by phone at (559) 878-4958 or online to schedule your appointment today.