If you or a loved one have 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? In these situations, Freedman Law can help. Our Fresno uninsured/underinsured accident lawyers can help you understand your options for compensation and represent you in a claim against the negligent motorist. We will fight tenaciously for your right to maximum recovery.
Why Select Our Injury Law Firm
Our attorneys have accrued more than 150 years of combined Fresno personal injury litigation experience. We will handle all aspects of your claim so that you can focus on recovery, not litigation.
Our law firm is among the highest rated in the Fresno area. Throughout the years, our clients have given us nearly 500 five-star Google reviews. We strive to provide the meticulous, effective legal representation you deserve.
We operate on a contingency fee basis. You will not need to pay upfront fees, and you will only be charged for our services if we secure a settlement on your behalf.
California’s Car Insurance Requirements
California, like most states, follows a fault-based system after car accidents. Negligent drivers are required to pay for their victims’ losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and vehicle repairs.
To uphold this duty, all drivers must carry the following minimum amounts of liability insurance.
$15,000 for bodily injury or death liability per person in an accident
$30,000 for total bodily injury or death liability per accident
$5,000 for property damage
If a driver fails to carry adequate insurance, he or she can face serious consequences. For a first offense, the state can levy a fine between $100 to $250 plus penalty assessments. You may also have your vehicle impounded. The penalties become more severe for second, third, and subsequent offenses.
Are Commercial Truck Drivers Required to Carry Insurance in California?
Commercial truck drivers operating solely within the borders of the state of California in a vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) are required to carry liability insurance and an intrastate identification number. The amount of liability insurance required for a driver depends on the type of freight they transport. Some of the insurance thresholds include:
$300,000 for household goods
$750,000 for general freight
$1,000,000 for carrying oil
$5,000,000 for hazardous materials
$20,000 per vehicle and $20,000 in cargo insurance
If you are hit by a big rig and the driver does not have the proper insurance coverage, you may have the foundation of a truck accident lawsuit in Fresno. Speak to an injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss the details of your specific case.
What Are 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.
What Are 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 our motorist and pedestrian accident attorney in Fresno to set up an appointment.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Not Cover?
While uninsured motorist insurance will protect you after a range of accident scenarios, there are some cases where it will not cover the full amount of incurred damages.
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.
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.
What to Do After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, it is important to stay calm and seek help as soon as possible. Take the following steps after the accident to preserve evidence and initiate your claim.
First, call 911 and report the accident to the police. Collect the responding officer’s information so that you can find the report on a later date.
Next, go to the hospital and receive treatment for your injuries, even if you do not feel hurt. Save all records that you receive.
If you are able, document evidence at the accident. Save physical items like clothing or broken possessions. Take as many photographs as possible of anything that seems important, such as debris, vehicle damage, and visible injuries.
Briefly exchange contact and license details with the other driver. Do not make any statements about the accident or your injuries, and do not accept any payments that the driver offers to make.
If any witnesses are in the area, approach them and ask for their contact information. These individuals could provide valuable testimony on your behalf.
After you receive medical treatment, contact a Fresno uninsured/underinsured accident attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you understand your options for compensation and will work closely with you to initiate your insurance claim or lawsuit.
Speak to a Fresno Uninsured or Underinsured Accident Attorney Today
Were you injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver? The Fresno car accident attorneys at Freedman Law can help you secure the settlement that you need to recover. To schedule your consultation with a Fresno uninsured/underinsured accident lawyer, contact us online or call 559-447-9000.