What Happens When the Driver Who hit You has no Insurance?
You’re stopped at a red light and suddenly your whole body is thrown forward hard against the seat belt and your entire car shudders. Your shoulder and neck hurt and as you look in your rear view mirror you see a big SUV has run into the back of your car. You get out, assess the damage to your car, and exchange information with the other driver. She says she left her ID at home, but you take a picture of her insurance paperwork with your phone, write down the license plate, and when you get home you call your insurance and read them the details of her policy. That’s when you realize that the expiration her insurance expired two years ago. You also realize that you don’t have any way of knowing if she is the person listed on the insurance paperwork. Your mind starts to race with fear about how you are going to pay for fixing your car (let alone your neck and shoulder) if she doesn’t even have valid insurance. Fortunately, a skilled attorney can help answer these questions, even if the answers might not be what you want to hear.
Normally, when someone is injured in a car accident by another driver, they can expect their injuries to be covered by the other party’s insurance. After all, California requires that all drivers on the road carry valid insurance with at least the minimum coverage of damage to others. But what happens if the other driver doesn't have valid insurance coverage? If your insurance covers collisions then your own insurance may pay for the damages no matter what, but if not you will likely find yourself in a much more difficult situation.
Luckily, many insurance policies offer “uninsured motorist coverage.” This type of coverage will pay for your injuries even if it’s the other person’s fault, so long as the other person is uninsured. "Uninsured motorist coverage" is often paired with “underinsurance coverage. “ Underinsured coverage will pay for your injuries after the other party has paid you their entire policy but the value of your injuries are greater than their policy limit. However, your un/underinsured coverage must be greater than the other person’s policy limits to take advantage of UIM coverage. Also, in situations like the one described above, even if you have under/uninsured motorist coverage your insurance company may insist on pursuing actions to attempt to get the other insurance company to pay (even though the insurance policy is lapsed). Your insurance might even try to wiggle out of it entirely by spending months trying to ascertain the identity of the driver and whether or not she had some other policy that might pay out instead of them. All of this means that you could be left footing the bill for an accident that you were the victim of, with only the possibility of being compensated months down the line.
This is why it is so important to contact a skilled attorney if you are ever involved in a car accident, especially if you fear the other party is uninsured or there might be other difficulties in getting their insurance to pay. In a situation like this, we at Slatter Law Firm know the steps to take, and will fight to get you (or your loved ones) the compensation you deserve –even if the person who hit you has no insurance. As a boutique firm, when you call Slatter Law you can speak to real attorneys (not just their secretaries) and even a founding partner -giving you real access to real legal advice when you need it. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, please call us today for your free consultation at (310) 444-3010 or toll-free at (888) 293-0404.