In California, qualifying drivers can take advantage of a great program called the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA). This initiative is designed to provide affordable liability insurance to low-income drivers.
Nevertheless, even with these guardrails in place, a 2018 study conducted by the Insurance Research Council found that roughly 15.2% of all drivers in California are still uninsured. This means that roughly one in seven vehicles drives without proper liability insurance.
This is why holding liability insurance alone is never enough to cover all your bases. Instead, make sure to secure proper collision and uninsured motorist coverage before hitting the road.
That way, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, at least you know you’ll be prepared to cover any damages incurred.
That said, even those who prepare as much as they can ahead of time can fall into tricky situations. If you were recently involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, make sure to contact Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law.
We can help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you’re owed. To give an uninsured motorist accident lawyer at our offices a call, simply dial (559) 878-4958 or contact the team online to schedule your free, confidential case review today.
How Long Does an Underinsured Motorist Claim Take?
Every case can vary, but the time it takes to resolve an underinsured motorist claim in California will ultimately depend on the specific details of your case. Some cases may be settled relatively quickly, while others can take months — or even years — to resolve.
In general, the process of filing an underinsured motorist claim in California will begin when you notify your own insurance company of the accident. At that point, you’ll provide them with the information about the other driver’s insurance (or lack of) coverage.
Your insurance company will then investigate the claim to determine whether the other driver’s insurance policy is going to be enough to cover your damages.
If their insurance is not enough to fully compensate you for your damages — such as if they don’t have the needed liability policy coverage — you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company to cover the remaining costs.
Of course, this process can involve many stressful negotiations between you and your insurance company, so it can be very helpful to secure the assistance of a qualified attorney.
From there, how long it takes to resolve your underinsured motorist claim ultimately will depend on the complexity of the case, the willingness of the insurance companies to negotiate, and the availability (plus quality) of evidence and documentation you’ve collected to support your claim.
It’s important to remain patient and persistent throughout this process, so make sure to work closely with your insurance company and legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected — and your claim is handled fairly.
What Kinds of Damages Can An Underinsured Motorist Claim Cover in California?
In California, an underinsured motorist claim can help you cover a range of damages. These typically include:
- Medical Expenses: Underinsured motorist coverage can help cover the costs of medical treatment for any injuries you sustained in the accident, including hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation.
- Lost Wages: If you were unable to work due to your injuries, underinsured motorist coverage can help compensate you for the wages you lost during that time.
- Pain and Suffering: Your policy may help compensate you for the physical pain and emotional distress you experienced as a result of the accident.
- Property Damage: If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, underinsured motorist coverage can help cover the costs of any required repairs or vehicle replacement.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages if the other driver was particularly reckless or negligent.
Note that the specific types of damages covered by underinsured motorist coverage can vary depending on the terms of your insurance policy. It is a good idea to review your policy and speak with either your provider or an attorney if you have any questions about your coverage.
What’s the Difference Between an Uninsured Motorist Claim and an Underinsured Motorist Claim?
An uninsured motorist claim and an underinsured motorist claim are similar in that they both involve seeking compensation from your own insurance company for damages sustained in a car accident caused by another driver. However, there is a key difference between the two types of claims:
An uninsured motorist (UM) claim is filed when the at-fault driver does not have any insurance coverage, meaning that they are “uninsured.” In this case, your own insurance company would step in and provide coverage for the damages you sustained.
On the other hand, an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim is filed when the at-fault driver does have insurance coverage, but their policy limits are not enough to fully compensate you for your damages.
In this case, your own insurance company would provide additional coverage to make up the difference between the at-fault driver’s policy limits and the total amount of damages you sustained.
Will I Be Able to Claim the Same Damages in Either Case?
In general, you should be able to claim similar types of damages in both an uninsured motorist claim and an underinsured motorist claim. The specific types of damages that you can claim may vary depending on the terms of your insurance policy and the laws in your state.
However, there may be some differences in how the claims are handled and how much compensation you can receive.
In an uninsured motorist claim, since the at-fault driver has no insurance coverage, you may be limited to the amount of coverage provided by your own insurance policy. This means that if your damages exceed your policy limits, you may not be able to recover the full amount.
In an underinsured motorist claim, you may be able to recover additional compensation beyond the at-fault driver’s policy limits, up to the limits of your own policy. However, this will depend on the specifics of your policy and the laws in your state.
In either case, it is important to keep detailed records of all of your damages, including medical bills, property damage, and lost wages, and to work closely with your insurance company and legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected, and your claim is handled fairly.
What Is the Maximum Dollar Amount I Can Receive From an Uninsured Motorist Claim?
The maximum dollar amount you can receive from an uninsured motorist claim in California varies per your insurance policy. California law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury.
However, if you’ve been involved in a serious accident, these minimum coverage amounts may not be enough to fully compensate you for all of your damages. Consequently, you should always consider purchasing additional coverage to ensure you are protected in any situation.
Additionally, the amount of compensation you receive from your uninsured motorist claim will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, including the extent of your injuries and the total amount of damages you sustained.
What Is the Maximum Dollar Amount I Can Receive From an Underinsured Motorist Claim?
The aforementioned values of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident are just the minimum required limits — so in the case that you have purchased additional coverage with higher limits, you may be entitled to a higher payout.
The maximum amount of compensation you can receive from an underinsured motorist claim will typically be limited to the difference between the at-fault driver’s policy limits and the total amount of damages you sustained.
So, for example, if the at-fault driver’s policy limit is $50,000 and your damages are $75,000, you may be able to recover up to $25,000 from your own insurance company under your underinsured motorist coverage.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Get the Most Out of My Uninsured Motorist Claim?
When it comes to something as complicated as filing an uninsured motorist claim, a confident attorney can be game-changing. Securing strong legal counsel means finding someone who can help you:
- Review your policy: An attorney can review your insurance policy and help you understand your coverage limits, exclusions, and other terms and conditions that may affect your claim.
- Investigate the accident: They can also investigate the accident to determine liability and gather evidence to support your claim. This may include reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses, and working with accident reconstruction experts.
- Evaluate damages: They’ll help you accurately evaluate the damages you sustained in the accident, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. On top of that, they can also help you anticipate future medical expenses or other damages that may arise from your injuries.
- Negotiate with insurance companies: An attorney can negotiate with your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf to seek a fair and just settlement. They can help you avoid common mistakes and tactics that insurance companies may use to try to minimize your compensation.
- File a lawsuit: If necessary, an attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf to pursue compensation for your damages. They can represent you in court and advocate for your rights and interests throughout the legal process.
This is not a battle you want to undergo alone. If you’re considering filing an uninsured motorist claim, make sure to contact a car accident lawyer today.
Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law are here to help and can make sure you secure the maximum amount you’re owed. To schedule your first appointment with their team, call (559) 878-4958 today or contact us online.