If you were involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver and were not at fault, you may be confused about what to do next. A car accident is stressful enough without worrying about who will pay for your damages. When you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver in California, you could have the right to bring an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. Uninsured motorist claims can be complex, so you need to hire an experienced California uninsured motorist attorney to represent you if you want to get the most out of your claim.
The Paris Firm has nearly three decades of experience assisting injured victims with recovering the compensation they deserve in personal injury matters, including a car accident with an uninsured driver.
What Should You Do Following a Car Accident
The steps you take after any collision can impact your future accident claim. Here are a few things you should do after a car accident.
Contact the Police
One of the first things you should do following an accident is to contact the police. This step is crucial in a car accident with an uninsured driver who is at fault. An uninsured driver will likely beg you not to contact the police, or they might flee the scene outright. Do not let them talk you out of calling the police, especially if you have injuries. The police report will likely be essential evidence in your uninsured motorist claim.
Exchange Contact Information
If the uninsured driver has not fled the scene, be sure to exchange contact information with them. You do not want to be accused of a hit-and-run accident. Remember that the uninsured driver is likely to do everything possible to withhold their information because they fear facing the legal repercussions of driving without proper insurance. So do what you can to get their information, and make sure to get as much information as possible, such as the car’s make, model, color, and license plate.
Take Scene Photos
If you have a smartphone or camera, try to take photos of the vehicle damage and the surrounding scene. If your injuries are too severe, don’t risk hurting yourself—only do what you safely can do. Get pictures of any details you believe are important and relevant, such as debris or skid marks. Was it raining, or is there something else that might have contributed to the collision? Record that in your photos or video as well.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company after the accident. Do you have uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage on your policy? If so, you could open an uninsured motorist claim.
Hire a California Uninsured Motorist Lawyer
Contacting a personal injury lawyer is always a good idea, but it’s even more essential with uninsured motorist accidents. These claims can be complicated, especially if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage on your own auto insurance policy. Hiring a lawyer can help you track down other potential avenues of coverage if it exists. For instance, if a third party contributed to the accident in some manner, your lawyer can determine if and how to seek compensation from them.
There may also be an option to sue the driver directly. However, that is only worthwhile if the driver has assets that can be attached to pay any judgment you get against them. If you plan to sue the uninsured driver, you’ll want a skilled lawyer representing you.
How Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage Works
Uninsured motorist (UM) insurance is coverage you purchase through your own auto insurance company. This coverage is bundled together with underinsured (UIM) coverage on your policy. Unless you elect to add the coverage and pay extra, it is not the same as the liability coverage California law requires you to have.
One important thing to understand about UM coverage is that insurance companies view uninsured motorist claims the same as third-party liability claims. Your insurance company essentially “steps in the shoes” of the uninsured driver’s insurance. That means your insurance company will not pay your claim without doing a full investigation and evaluation of your liability.
You want a lawyer representing you for a UM claim, just as you would for a regular third-party liability claim. California is a pure comparative negligence state. So if you share any responsibility for the accident, you will not receive 100% of your claim. For example, if your insurance company says you’re 30% at fault, they will only pay 70% of your damages under your UM policy coverage. If you had a car accident with an uninsured driver and were not at fault, you need a lawyer who will fight for you and argue against your insurance company’s position.
Schedule a Consultation with The Paris Firm
If you sustained injuries in a car accident with an uninsured driver in California, you don’t need to independently figure out the legal process. Let the skilled legal team at The Paris Firm help. With our nearly 30 years of experience assisting injured victims like you, we understand how stressful and emotional a car accident can be. We also know how stressful and frustrating it is when the driver who caused the collision doesn’t have insurance or will not reimburse you for your damages.
Pursuing a claim for a car accident with an uninsured driver can be complicated. Don’t add more stress to your life. Let us be the trusted legal advocate you need. Contact our office today so we can review the facts of your case and help you find the best legal course of action.