Car accidents are already stressful enough, but being hit by an uninsured California driver can add an extra layer of frustration and worry. If you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver in California, you may be wondering what your options are for seeking compensation for your damages. In this blog post, we’ll explain insurance coverage requirements in California, how fault is established, and the legal options that may be available to you.
How Many California Drivers Have No Insurance?
According to data shared by the Insurance Research Council, in 2019, approximately 17% of California drivers were uninsured. In comparison, the estimated countrywide uninsured motorist rate was 12.6%.
While the percentage of uninsured California drivers fluctuates over time, it is still a significant problem that puts other drivers and passengers at risk in the event of an accident.
Definition of an Uninsured California Driver
An uninsured California driver is a driver who does not have valid automobile insurance coverage in the state of California. California law requires all drivers to have liability insurance coverage to pay for damages or injuries they may cause in a car accident.
If a driver is found to be driving without insurance, they could face significant penalties, including fines, license suspension, and even impoundment of their vehicle. If the uninsured driver causes an accident, they may also be personally liable for any damages or injuries they cause, which could result in significant financial hardship.
Are California Drivers Required to Carry Liability Insurance?
Yes, drivers in California are required to carry liability insurance to cover damages they may cause in an accident.
The minimum required liability insurance amounts are:
- $15,000 per person
- $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance
- $5,000 in property damage insurance
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is an insurance policy that protects you in the event of an accident involving a driver who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages. If you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, your uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that you are entitled to.
Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in California, but it is a good idea to consider adding it to your insurance policy if you can afford it. This coverage can be particularly useful if you are involved in an accident with a driver who is at fault but doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages, or if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident where the other driver cannot be identified.
What Are Two Components of Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage typically has two components: uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist property damage coverage.
Bodily injury coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from injuries sustained in the accident. Property damage coverage pays for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and other property that was damaged in the accident.
It’s important to note that uninsured motorist coverage only applies if the other driver is at fault for the accident. If you are at fault for the accident, your liability insurance will cover the other driver’s damages, and uninsured motorist coverage will not apply.
Is California a Fault or No Fault State?
California is a “fault” state for car accidents, which means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for the damages resulting from the accident. This is also known as an “at fault” or “tort liability” system.
Under this system, the driver who is found to be at fault in the accident is responsible for paying for the damages caused by the accident, including property damage and personal injury.
In a fault state like California, the injured party has the right to file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for their damages. The injured party may also have the option of filing a claim with their own insurance company, especially if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
It’s important to also note that California has a comparative negligence law, which means that a person who is partially at fault for an accident can still recover damages, but the amount they receive may be reduced based on the percentage of fault assigned to them.
How Do Attorneys Establish Fault After a California Car Wreck?
An attorney can help determine fault in an auto accident by investigating the facts and evidence surrounding an accident. Here are a few ways they might go about doing this:
- Reviewing the police report: A California injury attorney will carefully review the police report to obtain information such as the date, time, location, and circumstances of the accident, as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Interviewing witnesses: An attorney may then contact witnesses to obtain their version of events and to ask any questions that may help determine fault.
- Gathering evidence: Accident attorneys may obtain photographs, video footage, or other evidence that may help to determine fault, such as skid marks on the road, damage to the vehicles involved, or any other physical evidence at the scene of the accident. They may also ask the injury victim for any documentation that they may have to provide further evidence.
- Consulting with experts: An attorney may consult with accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, or other specialists who can help determine fault based on their expertise.
- Researching local laws and regulations: An attorney will research the relevant laws and regulations that may impact the determination of fault, such as California traffic laws or regulations related to the use of certain equipment or technology in a vehicle.
Once the attorney has gathered all of the relevant information and evidence, they will use this to determine who was at fault for the accident. They may also use this information to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to obtain a fair settlement for their client or to prepare for trial if necessary.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault in California?
If you have been in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be wondering if you should hire a lawyer. It is generally a good idea to consult with a lawyer, especially if you were injured in the accident.
Here are a few reasons why you might consider hiring a California injury lawyer after a car accident:
- To help you understand your rights and the legal process: A lawyer can explain your legal rights and the process of filing a claim or lawsuit, which can be complex and overwhelming.
- To help you get the compensation you deserve: A lawyer can help you calculate your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and negotiate with the insurance company or the other driver’s lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.
- To handle the paperwork and legal procedures: A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and handle the paperwork and legal procedures, which can be time-consuming and complicated.
- To represent you in court: If your case goes to court, a California trial attorney can represent you and argue your case in front of a judge or jury.
Ultimately, whether or not to hire a lawyer after a car accident is a personal decision that depends on the specific circumstances of your case. However, if you were injured in the accident or if the damages are significant, it is often a good idea to consult with a lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Seek Help from California Injury Attorneys
Call on the Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys if you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by an uninsured driver in California. You can reach us at 310-INJURED 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our representatives are also standing by online through our secure LiveChat feature and contact contact forms.
Consultations are free and we do not charge any fees until we recover compensation on your behalf. Don’t let an uninsured driver wreck your life. Contact California Injury Attorneys today.