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Can my uninsured motorist coverage be used if I was a passenger in a vehicle?: My friend and I were stopped with traffic on the freeway. A car hit us without breaking at about 70mph, we then hit the car in front of us. A second or two passed, and another impact was made turning our car perpendicular fwy, another impact was made and then we slammed into divider wall. My friend and I both went to the hospital. She broke her foot and may be looking at surgery. I had a bunch of test done, with no insurance and received an ER bill of $43k. I have rib and a lot of soft tissue damage that will require a lot of chiropractor visits. I was laid off from my job last Thursday because my rib popped out on way to work (2 hr commute) and my boss decided I cannot effectively do job since the accident

The CHP report was just released and there are only three cars listed on it. The driver that hit us, and the car that we hit. I am now nervous because if the driver that hit us doesn't have enough coverage to cover both our medical bills, I am in a bad position. If it turns out, he has a weak policy, is there any way that my uninsured motorist policy will cover me? The car I was in had liability, but the driver was an excluded driver, so technically, wasn't she uninsured?

Asked 11 days ago in Car Accident

Lowell’s answer: Uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) kicks in when the at-fault party's coverage is exhausted 100% (and not one penny less) AND your UIM policy is greater than the at-fault party's liability coverage. Your insurance company will be entitled to an offset for the amount of coverage that was exhausted. For example, if the at-fault party's limit is $15,000 and that limit is paid to you and you have $50,000 UIM, you could be entitled up to an additional $35,000 (depending, of course, on the value of your case).

This is true even if there are multiple injured parties. In that situation, let's say that there are four injured parties and there is a $15,000/$30,000 policy limit for the at-fault driver ($15,000 maximum per person, $30,000 maximum per accident). If the $30,000 is exhausted and paid out in any amount to each injured party, then your UIM would still be entitled to an offset of $15,000 (even if you only got $7,500).

Even though you were not in your own car at the time of this accident, if you have medical payments coverage on your own policy that may kick in as well.

Hopefully the at-fault driver was sufficiently insured. I always look to see if the at-fault driver may have been in the course and scope of their employment because that would likely trigger a commercial liability policy with high limits. There are many more possibilities as to insurance coverage for the at-fault driver as well as your driver's UIM coverage and your own UIM coverage.

I don't need to tell you that you've had some serious injuries and serious injury cases get complicated so it's always advisable to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney who will leave no stone unturned to find any and all possible means of compensation for you.

Good luck with everything! I wish you the best.

Answered 5 days ago.

How to dispute 50/50 car accident claim: I was at a red light, there's a total of 4 vehicles I being driver #3 and the person who rare ended me is driver #4. The light turns green car #1 goes straight and car #2 turned right when suddenly the braked, causing me to brake and then car #4 hit me from behind. Then I see a pedestrian crossing which explains reason car #2 braked suddenly by then car #1 and #2 drove off leaving me #3 and #4 stopped and the light turned red again. We agreed to pull into the gas station as we turned right. As soon as I got off the car he asked me how did I want to take care of the issue? I told driver #4 I have car insurance and I'm calling to report accident. He then suggested I file an uninsured motorist claim instead and I declined he then said if I file a claim against him he will say "I cut him off". Okay so now the claims adjuster determined it's a 50/50 split fault also we have the same insurance company but no adjuster came to see my damages all based on the statements and photos. Can I fight this decision? If he hadn't been driving so close or paying attention he would've been able to stop on time as did I.

Asked 6 days ago in Car Accident

Lowell’s answer: In order to file an Uninsured Motorist Claim in California the other driver must be uninsured. In this case he has insurance so UM will not apply.

The damage to your vehicles will provide some evidence as to the way the accident occurred (hopefully you took pictures of both cars). Vehicles #1 and #2 are irrelevant in that there was no contact between you and those cars -- thus this is simply a two vehicle accident.
If you were injured then you are entitled to make a claim against the at-fault driver through his insurance company. Further, if you have collision coverage then your insurance should pay for your damage less the deductible. They will then go to the at-fault driver's insurance for reimbursement. If they pay then you will get your deductible back. If not, you may have to sue in small claims court.

You are also entitled to loss-of-use if you had to rent a car. Even if you didn't rent a car you're entitled to what they would have paid for a rental car during the time that your car is being repaired (or during the time that it takes for you to get a reasonable total loss offer).

The fact that you are cross-insureds (both having coverage from the same insurance company) has no bearing on your case. The insurance adjusters are supposed to treat each of you based on the merits of your case.

Good luck with everything. Although your case is not complicated you do have a bunch of competing issues here and the advice of a personal injury attorney should not be unwelcomed!!!

Answered 5 days ago.

When signing a release of liability under duress, is it possible to still go after a person for damages?: I was hit by another driver. My vehicle was totaled. At first the insurance company he gave seem to work until I was notified he was not insured. Two and a half weeks into the rental. . I live in a rural area and having a car is an essential. I don't have family here or really anyone I could call for rides. I'm a widower with four children. I ran out of food and the ability to properly care for my family. It was very stressful and hard on us. I didn't know how I would survive without a vehicle. I was desperate. I fininally called his boss of whom the driver had bought the vehicle from and was working for. He offered me money to pay for my car. I took it because without it would not be able to survive. In order to receive it I had to sign a release of liability. I signed with my signature I added UD. For Under Duress. I had no choice. I'm suffering still a great financial loss for an accident I did not cause. Can I still sue for damages? For Under Duress? Is it possible?

Asked 5 days ago in Car Accident

Lowell’s answer: There is, as they say, more than one way to skin a cat (I'm an animal lover so please don't take me literally). The first red flag is the fact that at-fault driver's boss sold the car to the driver and then came to his or her rescue with some money. It is possible that (1) the car is still owned and therefore likely insured by the driver's boss and/or (2) that the at-fault driver was in the course and scope of employment when the accident occurred. It just seems odd to me that the boss would cough up the money without having any liability of his own.

If either one of those possibilities is actually the case here then insurance may still be available and you were hoodwinked into signing a release based on what we call "fraud in the inducement." Here's the law:

§ 1572. Actual fraud
Actual fraud, what.
Actual fraud, within the meaning of this Chapter, consists in any of the following acts, committed by a party to the contract, or with his connivance, with intent to deceive another party thereto, or to induce him to enter into the contract:
1. The suggestion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who does not believe it to be true;
2. The positive assertion, in a manner not warranted by the information of the person making it, of that which is not true, though he believes it to be true;
3. The suppression of that which is true, by one having knowledge or belief of the fact;
4. A promise made without any intention of performing it; or,
5. Any other act fitted to deceive.

My advice would be to seek out a local personal injury attorney who could investigate your situation further.

Sorry to hear about the disruption that this accident caused in your life.

Answered 5 days ago.