Orange County Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyers
California is known for many things, including its vast system of freeways that millions of drivers use each day. There’s no question that car accidents are frequent occurrences, especially in Orange County, where heavy traffic is a daily challenge. Normally, a car accident that doesn’t result in any injuries would have the drivers exchange their insurance information, and then filing a claim to recover any damages. However, when you get in a car accident with a driver who does not have sufficient insurance, or any insurance at all, this process can quickly become much more complicated.
Recovering compensation from an uninsured or underinsured motorist can be a stressful process. Not only do you have to turn to your own insurance provider for help, but you also have to contend with the fact that your insurance company is now treating you aggressively. That is why we at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie want to offer our help. We have worked with many clients who were at a loss on how to recover compensation after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. We know our way around the system and can combat every trick that your insurance provider may pull to keep you from your fair compensation. For top-notch legal aid from experienced Orange County uninsured motorist accident attorneys, call our firm at (949) 752-7474 today and schedule a free consultation.
In California, insurance is legally required for all drivers. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the law. There are some people who want to save some money by avoiding insurance, and others allow their policies to lapse. Whatever the reason, these drivers are breaking the law. Those who do not have auto insurance are labeled “uninsured motorists” (UM).
In order to help drivers protect themselves from uninsured motorists, insurance companies offer UM policies. These policies offer compensation when you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. This policy can also be useful in a hit-and-run, as you typically do not have the identity of the person responsible for your accident, thus making an uninsured motorist.
On the other hand, there are underinsured motorists (UIM). Typically, these are drivers who do have auto insurance, but they do not have a high enough cap to cover all of your damages. For example, they may have the minimum required injury liability, which is just $15,000 in California, but your medical bills cost $30,000. While this driver is following the law by having insurance, their policy is too limited to actually cover your costs. In such a case, you can use a UIM policy with your own insurance to cover the rest of the costs.
California, like most states, requires all motorists who are operating a vehicle on public roads to have a minimum amount of insurance coverage. This is meant to help protect drivers and ensure they can cover their bills if injured in an accident. Those who neglect to get auto insurance, as in uninsured motorists, are breaking the law and could be subject to serious fines and other penalties if caught.
The minimum of coverage a California driver must have is:
- $15,000 for the bodily injury or death of a person in an accident.
- $30,000 for the bodily injury or death of two or more people in an accident.
- $5,000 for property damage in an accident.
Even though it is against the law to operate an automobile without insurance, countless people drive on Orange County streets while uninsured or unlicensed. This puts everyone on the road with these drivers at risk, as any accident could easily leave victims in serious medical debt. That is why California has taken a vested interest in making sure that as many people as UM/UIM policies as possible.
California law requires that insurance companies offer all clients UM/UIM policies in writing. In order for the policy to be legally turned down, the client must sign a paper that states that they do not want the policy in their insurance plan. While you are allowed to turn the policy down, we would not recommend it. These policies help cover your damages in a car accident when the other driver lacks insurance or lacks a sufficient amount of insurance to cover your losses. That way you aren’t left paying for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
Having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in your insurance plan can be a lifesaver if you ever get involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. These policies should cover all of the same damages that your own auto liability insurance would cover. That means that you can recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. This can cover:
- Past and present medical expenses
- Loss of future income
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Emotional trauma
- Lowered quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment
UM/UIM coverage usually has the same policy limits as your liability policy limits. This means that if you have the minimum amount of coverage for driving in the state of California, you will be able to collect up to $15,000 for your own injuries, $30,000 for the injuries or death of another person, or $5,000 in property damage from your uninsured motorist policy.
However, going through your own insurance company to recover your losses has its own set of frustrations you may have to deal with. When you file a UM/UIM claim with your own insurance, you will immediately be treated as hostile. This is because insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible. Offering fair settlements hurts their bottom line, so many companies will instead pull out every trick and threat in the book to force you into taking as little money as possible. Some companies will try to deny your claim outright, which is considered an act of bad faith and is illegal.
Oftentimes, your insurance provider will try to minimize the amount you are paid or dispute your claim itself. They may try to trick you into confessing that the accident was your fault or may take your words out of context to claim that you admitted fault when you didn’t. Given how tricky and aggressive insurance companies can be, it’s vitally important that you consult with an experienced Orange County car accident attorney before you make any decisions.
At Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, our team of dedicated attorneys has helped numerous victims recover from tragic car accidents with underinsured or uninsured motorists. Insurance companies can be the last things people want to deal with while healing from severe injuries. That’s why we are committed to providing you with the effective and strategic representation you need to fight your case.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, don’t wait to start getting the help you need. Give Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie a call at (949) 752-7474 to discuss your options.
- Uninsured and Underinsured Automobile Insurance: Why You Need It
- Uninsured / Under Insured Motorist Coverage
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UMC) /Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) - DMV
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