Guide to California law on uninsured motorist auto accident claims.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance coverage like "liability" or "collision" or "comprehensive". This protects you and pays for things like medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering if you are involved in an auto accident due to the fault of another driver who doesn't have insurance.
Do I Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
By law in California, every auto insurance policy must contain an uninsured motorist coverage provision unless you waive the coverage, in writing and with very specific waiver language set forth in California Insurance Code. You should immediately check your "Declarations of Coverage" (the one or two page summary of what coverage you have) to make sure you have this coverage and that you didn't waive it.
What Happens If I Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage and I'm Involved in An Accident With Another Driver Who Is Not Insured?
If you have the coverage and you are struck by another vehicle being driven by someone without insurance, you obtain proof that they don't have insurance from the DMV and submit all your claims to your own insurance company. These claims can include present and future medical bills, lost wages or income, pain and suffering and money to compensate you for the disruption the accident causes to your life.
Is It Necessary to Have A Lawyer Right After The Accident Happens?
Yes. Even though you are submitting the claim to your own insurance company, they are trying to minimize the value of the claim because they are in the business of doing just that (paying out as little on claims as they can). Although you are obligated to cooperate with them in presenting the claim, you can do any number of things that can jeopardize the value of your case or whether you even have a case at all. An attorney can help obtain proof that the other party was at fault and not insured and can present the claim in a way that maximizes the benefit of your coverage.
What Happens If I Think My Insurance Company Is Offering Too Little?
If you cannot agree on the reasonable value of your claim, you can demand that the claim be submitted to arbitration. An arbitration is like a trial without a jury where evidence is presented to an arbitrator (like a private judge) who will render a decision as to what should be awarded to you. In most instances, the decision is final and binding. This is yet another reason to hire an attorney so that he or she can argue for the highest arbitration award possible for you.
Additional resources provided by the author
What to do if you get in an accident with a driver without insurance?
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on
their profile in addition to the information we collect from state
bar associations and other organizations that license legal
professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo
with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do
What determines Avvo Rating?
Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, education
Legal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Legal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagements
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in .
Disciplinary information may not be comprehensive, or updated. We recommend that you always check a lawyer's disciplinary status with their respective state bar association before hiring them.