The California Uninsured Motorist Process Explained.
If you live in California you, by law, must be offered uninsured motorist coverage. If you decline the coverage, the insurance company must have a signed decline by you in writing, otherwise you will be afforded the coverage by law at a later date, even after an accident. But what does this coverage provide?
Coverage: Uninsured motorist claims arise when you have been involved in an accident, and the other driver either has no insurance or not enough insurance. For your uninsured motorist claim to succeed, you must be entering your car or already in your car. You must also be a named insured on the policy, or you live at the home as a relative.
No Insurance: In California, an uninsured motorist claim may only be brought when you have verified that the other party has no insurance or inadequate insurance to cover your injuries. The other party may admit they have no insurance. If they refuse to cooperate, you can prove the other party has no insurance by using the Department of Motor Vehicles for California. Send in a form 1A, and SR19 to the Department of Motor Vehicles. It will investigate whether the other driver had insurance and notify you. Since the other driver loses his or her license if she cannot prove insurance coverage, the other driver will usually cooperate with the Department of Motor Vehicles almost all the time.
Claim: Once you establish the other party does not have insurance, you may notify your insurance company and demanded an uninsured motorist settlement. Submit your medical bills, property damage and wage loss to your insurance company along with your demand for your pain and suffering. Your insurance company must either settle with you or agree to participate in arbitration. Arbitration is an easier process of resolving your dispute with your insurance company.
Rights: You have the right to demand all of the damages that you would demand from an uninsured motorist. If your case cannot be settled within one year, you should demand arbitration.
Naturally if you feel overwhelmed, or you're injuries were more severe, it is in your best interest to hire an Orange County car accident attorney to handle this process for you. An attorney that understands uninsured motorist claims processes, the insurance company demands, the nuances of perfecting a claim and the method of compiling documentation for a u/m claim, will get more recovery to you, even after paying the attorney fee.
Our office handles uninsured motorist claims for many types of accidents. If you think you have a California uninsured motorist claim, please call us to discuss your options, get free advice or request a free consultation.
by James E. Ballidis
James Ballidis is the managing attorney for Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie and has been practicing personal injury law for over 35 years.
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You were wonderful throughout my case. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain the process so that I could feel comfortable. When I was hurt, I really did not know where to turn and Suzanne was comforting and knowledgable. Thanks again for all you did.