Personal injury accident. Car vs. pedestrian. Can pedestrian file claim with his own uninsured motorist coverage. Big injury

Asked 12 months ago - Riverside, CA

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

Attorney answers (19)

  1. Cory Russell Weck

    Contributor Level 11

    31

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  2. Marc Lazarus

    Contributor Level 14

    29

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage should apply. However, your friend should consult with a personal injury attorney in order to discuss the issue in greater detail.

    Marc Lazarus

    This answer to this questions is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.... more
  3. Robert Bruce Kopelson

    Contributor Level 20

    28

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Uninsured/underinsured motorist will cover even if one is a pedestrian. Friend should consult with a lawyer asap.

  4. David Herman Hirsch

    Contributor Level 20

    26

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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...

    THESE COMMENTS MUST NOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. Comments made on websites such as Avvo.com are provided for information purposes only, and you should not base a decision to act or refrain from acting based upon this answer. The only way to determine how the law may apply to your particular situation is to consult with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. . That relationship is established by the execution of a written agreement for legal services. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference.

  5. Joseph Torri

    Contributor Level 17

    26

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with my colleagues. I would also like to add that most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. Your friend should immediately consult with a personal injury attorney. Waiting and unnecessary delays could hurt your friend's case.

    This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. This means that I am not your lawyer and I... more
  6. Joseph John Bernardo

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    26

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  7. Briny Adam Woods

    Contributor Level 12

    21

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Although your friend was not driving, he can utilize his own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage since the other driver was operating a vehicle.

  8. Stephen Ross Cohen

    Contributor Level 20

    16

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I have represented people in this type of case often and have always been successful. Call me or another Avvo PI attorney.

    My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced since 1974. I practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA.... more
  9. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    17

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Have a lawyer investigate all possible coverage

  10. Christopher John Gansen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, there should be coverage, but your friend needs a lawyer. Many firms offer free consultations. All the best.

    Chris Gansen

  11. Michael Shemtoub

    Contributor Level 17

    13

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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, they 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!

    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.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for... more
  12. William John Light

    Contributor Level 10

    13

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  13. Arthur Richard Liberty

    Contributor Level 3

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

    It is always best to consult a skilled attorney; one who not only has the answers but who knows the questions that... more
  14. Larry Jim Sidiropoulos

    Contributor Level 6

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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!

  15. Nareg Sarkis Kitsinian

    Contributor Level 8

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  16. Pajman Jassim

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, you should be able to claim the benefits of your own UIM policy.

    This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between Jassim & Associates or any of its attorneys.... more
  17. Stephanie Erin Story

    Contributor Level 11

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  18. Richard Marc Katz

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes. In California uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage would be applicable to the pedestrian's claim.

    If this is an actual question as oppossed to academic, I recommend that you contact an personal injury attorney immediately for proper advice.

    The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am... more
  19. Manuel Alzamora Juarez

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hire a lawyer and let a professional handle this case. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de... more

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