Importance of UM/UIM Coverage
In California, you need to show financial responsibility for the cars that you own, and for most people, that means purchasing automobile liability insurance. Evidence of your automobile liability insurance is supposed to be kept in your glove compartment. If you do not carry it, you may be fined, and your license may be suspended. The automobile policy is a contract between an insurer and you, and it explains the cost of the insurance, what is covered, and what is excluded. The importance of UM/UIM coverage cannot be overstated. At Sharifi Firm, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers can help you bring an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim in case you get into an accident with a driver who has not purchased the proper insurance to cover your damages.The Importance of UM/UIM Coverage
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage provides coverage in case you are in an accident with a driver who does not have liability insurance or else is not insured sufficiently to cover your total damages. You are supposed to be offered this coverage when you buy automobile liability insurance, and you need to specifically sign a waiver stating that you are turning down the coverage in order to not have this type of coverage.
The purpose of buying this coverage is to be able to pay for medical expenses and property damage in case the driver at fault for the accident is uninsured or cannot pay all of these expenses with the amount of coverage that they do have. In rare situations, an at-fault driver is wealthy and can pay you directly for your losses, but in most cases, wealthy drivers have insurance. More often than not, an uninsured driver does not have assets, and you will need to turn to the uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy.
When you get into an accident, you are supposed to exchange insurance information with the other driver. Often, the police officers who come to the scene of the accident will also try to get this information from all of the drivers involved in the accident. When an at-fault driver does not have coverage, the officer will let you know. You should make an uninsured motorist claim on your policy in that case.
In other cases, there may be a hit and run. You can report what happened to the police, and in some cases, they may be able to locate the hit and run driver. Sometimes a hit and run driver has insurance, in which case you can make your claim against it. However, in many other cases, there is no insurance coverage, which may be why the other driver fled the scene.
It may be the case that you make a claim against an at-fault driver's insurance policy, only to find that the other driver only has the minimum amount of coverage. In California, the minimum amount of coverage for injury or death to one person is $15,000, the minimum amount of coverage per accident is $30,000, and the minimum amount of property damage coverage is $5,000. In most cases involving serious injuries to an individual, the minimum amount of coverage of $15,000 will not be enough to fully compensate for the wide spectrum of losses that may arise out of an accident. These include medical bills, hospital bills, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, out-of-pocket costs, household services, and more.
Many people are surprised to realize that when they make a claim against their own policy's UM/UIM coverage, they are in an adversarial relationship to their own insurer. This makes it crucial to retain a lawyer as soon as possible. You should also give notice to your insurer of the UM/UIM claim immediately because the time frame to bring your claim is a very short window, often only a month from the accident date.Seek Legal Guidance After a Car Crash in Los Angeles
All drivers should understand the importance of UM/UIM coverage. After a serious accident, you may face substantial medical bills and time off from work, and it is important to be able to recover those losses to stay afloat. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our Los Angeles attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation. Contact us online or at 1-866-422-7222 to set up a free consultation with an uninsured motorist accident lawyer. We also represent injured people in Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, Glendale, Covina, and San Bernardino, among other Southern California cities.