Skip to main content

I was a passenger in an uninsured car in california that was rear ended can I be compensated for pain and suffering?

Thousand Oaks, CA |

The car I was in was stopped at a red light and hit, the driver who hit us was found to be at fault. I was injured her insurance paid for damage to the car and they are offering me the maximum liability amount the defendant had for my medical bills, which were a lot higher than her coverage. Can I recover anything for pain and suffering?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 12


If you have coverage for a vehicle you own or a relative with whom you live has insurance, and it has underinsured motorist coverage higher than the amount of the limits offered you by the at fault driver, you can make an underinsured motorist claim for addl money.


Her coverage limit is supposed to include claims for both economic (i.e., medical bills) and non-economic (i.e., pain & suffering) damages. However, you should seriously consider consulting with a local personal injury attorney to see if there are any other avenues to pursue in getting you the maximum compensation that you deserve.

Ms. Berjis is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ and thus this answer is for informational and educational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal advice. Since all facts are not addressed in the question, this answer could change depending on other significant and important facts. This answer in no way constitutes an attorney-client relationship.


Unlike the driver of your car, yes, you could recover for pain and suffering, but if you are already being offered the policy limit, the only way to recover more would be to find assets of the defendant or find additional defendants, but it doesn't sound like there are any. If you don't have a lawyer, you should sit down with one and at least have a consult to review your options.

Richard Andrew Harting

Richard Andrew Harting


If you or a member of your household have uninsured motorist coverage you may be able to recover additional monies. Pull your insurance documents and consult with a local personal injury attorney


Sounds like the typical scenario where are insurance company is taking advantage of an unrepresented person. They know that most people net out far better with a lawyer than without a lawyer. Contact a local and qualified personal injury litigation attorney now. Good luck.

Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff


You need to speak to an attorney ASAP. There are many issues that exist here and you need a Personal injury attorney to go over each one with you. As a passenger in a car, you have certain rights. You may also have your own UM/UIM insurance that may cover you. I would highly recommend speaking to an attorney before speaking to the insurance company. Many firms, including my own, offer free consultations.

Under no Circumstances are the comments made on this message board meant to be legal advice or constitute an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, seek help from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.


Assuming the offer was the liability policy limit, that is the most the insurance policy will pay to cover the other driver's "liability" which, for bodily injury, includes medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering. So, if you accept the policy limit and sign a release, you cannot get any more money. If you have your own auto insurance policy with uninsured motorist coverage and that policy limit is higher than the other driver's liability limit, you can claim the difference between the policy amounts as "under-insured" motorist benefits.

Hopefully you will be able to satisfy your medical bills or medical insurance reimbursement out of the available insurance money and have something left over for you. Depending on who is claiming what for medical expenses, you may need to talk to a personal injury lawyer.

Good luck.


You may be entitled to be fully compensated not only for your medical bills but for pain & suffering since you were a passenger. However, if you were also the owner of the vehicle that you were riding in, you would be limited to medical expenses because your vehicle is uninsured. If you were a passenger in someone else’s uninsured vehicle your damages would NOT be limited to medical expenses but include pain & suffering damages. You should contact an attorney immediately and do not talk to or make any settlement with the insurance company until after seeing an attorney.

Attorney responses are PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DO NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. Such responses represent the attorney’s initial analysis based only upon the facts set forth in the question. Since the question may not include all of the facts or omit material facts or timelines which could affect the attorney’s conclusions, attorney responses should not be construed as legal advice for any particular set of facts but only as a preliminary opinion.


Since you were the passenger of the uninsured vehicle you are entitled to recover for all damages caused by the collision, including pain and suffering. If the at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to cover all your losses (medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering), you should consult with an attorney in your area before you accept the policy limits offer.


If the policy for the vehicle in which you were riding has underinsured motorist coverage with a limit in excess of the policy limits of the driver that hit you, you may be able to receive additional funds there. For more information on underinsured motorist claims go to our blog:

Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery. Any testimonials or endorsements should not be construed as a guarantee, warranty or prediction of the outcome of your case.


Yes, it's the driver of an uninsured vehicle that can't recover for pain and suffering. Retain one of the above distinguished lawyers in your state.


If driver that hit you is insured, yes. Alternatively, if you have your own insurance and carry um coverage, you may be able to make a claim with your insurance.


If you have your own auto insurance policy and have Underinsured Motorist coverage, then you may be able to recover additional damages beyond the third party at fault defendant's policy limits. Not only for your pain and suffering but the overall amount of your claim including medical bills, future medical costs, loss of earnings, future lost wages.

Get Avvo’s 3-part personal injury email series

A roundup of the best tips and legal advice.

Personal injury topics

Recommended articles about Personal injury

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer