Uninsured/Underinsured Accidents

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If you or a loved one been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, it can be a very confusing and complicated situation.  What if the other driver just ran away or does not have insurance?  Or what if you were a hit as a pedestrian by a driver who drove away or didn’t have insurance?

This is not unusual. Many drivers in California do NOT have insurance, so what should you do if the driver that hit you does not either?

Uninsured Motorist (UM) Claims

If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on your auto insurance policy, you will be able to make a claim against your own insurance company for your losses without any detriment to you. Even if you personally do not have auto insurance coverage, you still may be covered. If you were a passenger in someone else's vehicle and the owner of the vehicle you were in has UM coverage, it should cover you. If you live with someone who is related to you who has UM coverage, it also may cover you.

The UM insurance company pays when the other driver does NOT have any insurance. UM coverage pays for most (but not all) of the things that the other person's insurance would have paid if it existed. UM insurance coverage should cover the following losses:

  • Ambulance, paramedic, hospital and medical bills, including dental, x-ray, MRI and prescriptions.
  • Loss of wages, earnings and income.
  • Pain, suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life activities.
  • Loss of future earnings and earning capacity.

There are some things that UM coverage may not cover, including the following:

  • Property damage
    UM coverage does not cover damage to your car, towing, rental or loss of use. However, you may also have collision coverage that does pay for property damage, less your deductible, and UM waiver of deductible that may cover your deductible. You may also have rental reimbursement and towing coverage. Check your policy coverage carefully and give a copy of your coverage declaration page to your attorney to review.
  • Punitive damages
    These damages are not covered unless your own insurance company wrongfully handles your UM claim. Then you may be able to bring a separate action against it for the bad faith handling of your claim. If you think this may apply, you should immediately consult our offices for advice.

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Claims

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is not quite the same as uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UIM applies when the person who caused your accident has auto liability insurance but the limits are not high enough or sufficient to fully compensate you for your losses. In contrast, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, discussed above, applies when the other party does NOT have any auto insurance at all.

The many rules, procedures and overall complexity of Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Claims require representation by an experienced Auto Accident Attorney.

To potentially help you through your situation, call or email us to set up an appointment.