The question is this. Driver hits pedestrian and has either no insurance or a very small $15k insurance policy. Meanwhile, the pedestrian suffers a $100k injury (for example), will the pedestrian be able to recover from his own uninsured motorist coverage despite the fact that he was on vacation and not driving his car? I know an attorney will be the best bet, but I am trying to gather some info for a friend...to help him decide what action to take or if it is worth hiring a lawyer
The reality is your friend is playing with fire and will likely get burned if he/she doesn't at least consult with an attorney. How do you know the defendant has little or no insurance? How do you know the person wasn't in the "course and scope" of their employment at that time? Mow will they verify there are no other policies that may apply? A good respected lawyer will be able to answer those questions. A person UM/UIM applies even if they are a pedestrian so long as the defendant has no insurance or a policy less than that of your friends. If it is a serious injury case you wouldn't attempt to perform surgery on yourself to save a couple bucks, so don't attempt to settle or litigate the case without a professional. At least speak with someone who is well respected. It's free for a consult and then you can make an informed decision.
Given the circumstances you describe your friend would be foolish to not consult with an attorney. I'm sure you will get the same response from the many personal injury attorneys who will respond to your post. Good luck to you and your friend...
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Generally, yes the UM/UIM policy will provide coverage for their insured even when struck as a pedestrian. It is not even a question as to whether a personal injury attorney should be consulted. It would be foolish not to. Especially in light of the significant damages described in your post.
I live and work in California and deal with accidents like yours, so I am happy to answer your question. The answer to your question is your gut instinct is right!! You can make a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage because another motorvehicle was involved but by yourself you're unlikely to get a high settlement... you should definitely hire an attorney to get the maximum amount possible. Regarding pain and suffering, you need to speak to an experienced attorney that can strategize your case. Just because you were in an accident doesn't mean you have pain and suffering, at least thats what the insurance companies think. Make no doubt about it you have a great case, but you need help from a professional. You are entitled to your medical bills being covered as well. You should be filing a claim, but you should do it through an attorney. Whenever someone makes a claim against an insurance company the insurance company usually gives you a very difficult time. I've seen insurance companies lie to their own insured before! This is important in uninsured motorist claims.
Do you feel that you are at the same medical condition that you were before the accident? As a basic premise I wouldn't handle your claim by yourself. The attorney you hire can likely refer you to a doctor, if you ask for one, who will see you with no upfront payment! I've done this many times to help my clients out. You should not wait a single day to hire a lawyer, we will advise you on the strategy of your case. There is no upfront cost to hire an attorney.
With a case like yours it seems like you have some good facts in order to get a high settlement, but your case definitely needs to be developed further to corroborate your story. The most important thing when building your case are: liability (were you at fault); how bad are your injuries to your body. A lot of these things sound like they are not complete yet in your case so its something that is worth hiring an attorney for in order to get a sense of whether you have a case and what the strategy would be for you to build a strong case! I've handled many of these cases in the Riverside, CA area.
Its very possible that your case is worth more than the $$$ that the insurance company will offer you by yourself. Make your life easier and call an attorney today, you won't regret it. We give free consultations!
UIM will apply if the other driver is uninsured, or underinsured (assuming that the vacation was in the US. The policy may not apply in other countries). Medical Payments coverage, if purchased, should also apply. The facts given do not establish whether the other driver was uninsured or underinsured. First, there may be a different vehicle owner with a larger policy and there may be a claim for negligent entrustment. Next, the driver may be in the course and scope of employment. Third, the pedestrian may be at fault. This scenario is too complex to discuss various alternatives that may drastically affect the insurance coverage and liability of the parties. An attorney needs to be consulted.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage affords coverage for you and all members of your family who reside in your household with you. It would also include any minor children of yours who do not reside with you or your children who are away at college. You do not have to be an automobile driver or passenger in order to be eligible for benefits. Your automobile UM/UIM policy applies even if you were a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or bystander, so long as the motorist who caused your injuries was uninsured or underinsured. Your uninsured motorist coverage also applies for the benefit of other passengers in your car or other people driving your car with your permission, and who are injured by an uninsured driver.
Uninsured motorist vehicle coverage comes into play whenever anyone who is insured is injured by a driver who is uninsured. An uninsured driver includes a hit-and-run driver. California law requires that there be contact between the hit and run vehicle and your vehicle or person. If there is no contact, the hit and run claim will be denied. Contact, however, need not be major, even the slightest touching is sufficient. While the policy may say that you are required to file a police report, under the law, you may still proceed with a hit and run claim even with have done so. However, an unidentified hit-and -run driver is not considered an "uninsured motorist" for the purpose of damage to your car.
In California, your underinsured motorist coverage raises your policy limit to the amount of coverage purchased expressed in two numbers 30/60 where 30 represents $30,000 per person and 60 represents $60,000 per occurrence. In California, your insurance carrier will get a credit toward the policy limit from the recovery you received from the underinsured motorist's insurance carrier.
Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage is intended to compensate you for both your financial and your non-financial losses which you sustain, and for which you have a legal claim as a result of the negligence of an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver. Your financial losses would include any medical expenses which you reasonably required as a result of such an incident, any loss of income or earnings, any diminution in your ability to earn money in the future, or any assorted out-of-pocket expenses such as household and related help and assistance.
Non-financial damages include such elements as loss of ability to enjoy or engage in certain activities as a result of injuries, pain and suffering, and other such subjective losses for which you are entitled to monetary compensation under the law. There is usually no exact way of pinpointing an appropriate amount of compensation for this factor, but insurance people and attorneys are often able to come to an accommodation based upon the severity of the injury, whether it fully heals, what kinds of treatment are necessary and how much time is required in order to achieve an optimum recovery.
You can make a lot of mistakes, if you or your friend attempts to handle a uninsured/underinsured motorist claim on their own. Have your friend consult an attorney. Call me personally at (877) 322-8955 to discuss these issues.
Good advice from all of my colleagues. However, you should also consider conducting an asset search to determine if the at fault party has any additional coverage or assets. In addition, you should investigate whether the at fault party was within the course and scope of his employment, which would subject his employer to liability. Especially if the 100k uninsured/underinsured policy is not sufficient to cover your loss. Do not negotiate this claim on your own. Hire a reputable attorney to handle this for you. There are many pitfalls that you are not aware of and that the insurance companies (including your own insurance company) will use against you. Remember that even your own insurance company is looking to minimize its exposure, so they are not going to help you out. Good Luck!
The uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage should apply to the given facts. However, I strongly advise you to contact an experienced attorney for a few reasons: (1) an attorney can ensure the highest recovery for your damages (2) there are specific procedures and time limitations to filing a claim with your own insurance to be covered under the uninsured / under-insured policy (3) you will be dealing with more adjusters and more complex issues, you should let a professional should handle it.
Your friend needs an attorney to take on the insurance companies, period, because they will never give him what his case is worth. There are a number of issues involved in pursuing a car accident claim that you must understand. First, there is a 2 year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit. Second, you can make a demand for the policy limits, and if it is rejected after 30 days, the policy can be considered open. Third, you must sue all parties involved in an accident before you can pursue your own uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) claims, and most, if not all, UM/UIM claims proceed by arbitration, not civil court. Fourth, any gap in medical treatment can adversely affect a case, and attorneys can aid in finding good doctors and securing payment on liens. Fifth, if you have counsel, the insurance company cannot contact you directly for anything, including a statement, which you should never give. For all of these reasons, and then some, your friend needs to retain counsel asap.
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