IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED BY AN UNINSURED MOTORIST, WE CAN HELP
California Personal Injury Lawyers Helping Accident Victims
Although automobile insurance is mandatory under California law, a significant percentage of drivers on California roadways are uninsured. When these uninsured motorists injure pedestrians, other drivers, and even their own passengers, the Thompson Law Offices can help. We understand that injury victims need fair compensation to rebuild their lives, and our mission is to pursue full value in every case.
Liability in Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Cases
When a driver negligently causes an accident, it is the driver himself or herself who is legally responsible for the damages. Since most people don’t have the resources to compensate the victim of a serious accident directly, California and other states require drivers to carry automobile insurance. When insurance has lapsed or is simply not enough to cover the damages sustained in the accident, you may feel that you have nowhere to turn. However, there are three possible roads to recovering damages in an uninsured motorist case.
Direct Liability of the Uninsured Driver
It is the negligent driver who is the target of a personal injury lawsuit, regardless of whether or not the driver is insured. The main difference is that when the driver has automobile insurance, the insurance company will typically step in and provide legal representation. If a settlement is reached or a judgment entered that is within the insurance policy limits, the insurance company will make payment. A driver without insurance is directly responsible for any settlement or judgment.
It is often difficult to recover damages in this type of case, because many uninsured motorists simply don’t have enough money or property to make payment. This is where an experienced uninsured motorist attorney comes in. We will investigate both the driver’s resources and other possible sources of recovery.
Your Own Motor Vehicle Insurance
Your automobile insurance policy may include coverage for accidents caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. When you purchase car insurance in California, you have the opportunity to opt out of this coverage, so not everyone who is injured by an uninsured motorist is protected. For those who do have coverage, the limits may be low, and only certain damages may be covered.
Generally, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may be a part of the solution, but will not be sufficient to fully compensate the injured party. Typically, we will pursue this avenue in combination with others.
Liability of Someone Other than the Uninsured Motorist
Sometimes, someone other than the negligent driver is partly responsible for the accident. In that case, that third party may also be partly responsible for your damages. In an uninsured motorist case, it is especially important to investigate third party liability, because that other responsible party may have insurance coverage or other resources that the negligent driver does not.
Some common situations in which a third party may be responsible include:
- When the negligent driver was operating someone else’s vehicle with the owner’s permission
- When the negligent driver was acting on someone else’s behalf at the time of the accident, such as making a delivery for an employer
- When the negligent driver is a minor who had become obviously intoxicated at a bar or restaurant
Connect with a California Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, recovering the damages you deserve can be complicated and confusing. A local personal injury lawyer experienced in handling uninsured motorist claims can be your best resource.
Although most people injured in motor vehicle accidents have up to two years to file suit against the driver or other responsible parties, delay can hurt your case. Witness memories fade, or witnesses may become difficult to locate. Physical evidence may be lost or destroyed. The earlier we can get started investigating a claim, the more opportunity we have to identify all responsible parties, preserve evidence and put together a strong case on your behalf.
Just fill out our brief form to request a free consultation right now.