What to Do if You’re Hit by an Uninsured Driver in California

hit by uninsured driver

Getting in an accident with an uninsured driver makes a bad situation even worse. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional trauma of an accident, but you begin to worry that you will be on the hook for all of your future medical expenses and property damage expenses.

Is there anything you can do when you are involved in a car accident with someone without insurance?

Stressful though these situations may feel, there are a couple of different routes you can take. Below, we look at what happens if you get into a car accident with someone who doesn’t have auto insurance coverage.

Contact Your Insurance Company to Find Out if You Have UI/UM Coverage

Your insurance company should be your first call after an accident with an uninsured driver. They can help you determine whether uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is included in your policy.

This coverage is what allows your insurer to step in and compensate you for damages when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or has low policy limits. But act fast to get your claim started — insurance companies (yes, even your own) will look for any reason to lowball or deny your settlement otherwise.

Some states require all drivers to have uninsured or underinsured driver coverage for exactly these situations. Unfortunately, this requirement is not in effect in California–which incidentally has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country.

Getting information about your car insurance coverage is supposed to be straightforward. Unfortunately, it often is not. Even people with uninsured and underinsured driver coverage often find it difficult to receive straightforward or detailed information from their insurer. If you’re having trouble with what your insurance covers or you’re not sure how to make a claim, it could be smart to get help from a personal injury lawyer.

A lawyer can help determine what happened and deal with insurance or take legal action if necessary. If you’re in a car accident with an uninsured driver, it’s tough, but you don’t have to handle it alone.

What to Do at the Scene of the Accident

The first thing you should do when you have been hit by a driver is make sure you and everyone in your car are safe. You can also check on the other driver if you’re able to. Once you’re sure everyone is safe, it is important to contact the police and begin documenting the scene.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what to do after an accident.

  1. Confirm safety and move to a safe location with hazard lights on.
  2. Exchange contact information and vehicle details with all involved parties.
  3. Document the accident scene, taking photos of damages and noting relevant details.
  4. Collect witness information and statements, if possible.
  5. Call the police, file an accident report, and get the report number.
  6. Get medical attention for all involved parties and keep detailed records of treatments.
  7. Call your insurance company quickly, providing accurate and detailed information.
  8. Cooperate fully with your insurance company’s investigation and provide the requested documents.
  9. Keep records of all damages, personal property losses, and related expenses.
  10. Get a price breakdown from reputable auto repair shops for vehicle damages.

If you know what to do after a car crash, you’ll see that this is the usual way things are supposed to happen. The goal is to show that the careless driver caused the accident and then keep track of all the money you spend because of it.

You’ll use this record when you make an insurance claim. Even though there might be limits to what your insurance will cover, having good records gives you the best chance of getting them to pay for everything.

Is It Worth Suing an Uninsured Driver?

There are two main ways to recover damages if you are hit by an uninsured driver. One way is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. At first, this may seem like the best way to go. They were at fault in the crash, so they were supposed to pay for the damage.

Going with this option might seem the most fair, but it’s usually not worth it. Even if you win the lawsuit, the other driver may not be able to pay. Usually, there is a reason someone drives without insurance in the first place, and that reason isn’t that they have lots of money to cover the costs of someone else’s property damage and medical bills.

The better path is often to file a claim with your own car insurance company. Many policies carry an uninsured driver property damage option which is designed to help in situations just like this one.

Overwhelmed After an Uninsured Crash? Contact Us for Help

If you get into an accident and can’t quite navigate the fallout on your own, that’s very understandable. When another driver hits you, it starts a complicated process that many people aren’t prepared to deal with. That process only becomes more complicated when the other party is uninsured.

At Pasternack Injury Law Group, we have helped many people just like you. Contact us today to set up a free consultation. We will review the details of your case and help determine the best strategy for the situation.

Author Bio

Barry A. Pasternack

Barry Pasternack brings over three decades of legal experience to his role as the founding attorney at Pasternack Injury Law Group. He holds a J.D. from the esteemed California Western School of Law in San Diego, California, and has been a member of the California State Bar since 1988. Located in downtown San Diego, Barry’s practice serves clients throughout the San Diego region, providing comprehensive guidance and representation.

Barry’s commitment to his clients is unwavering, and your initial consultation is always free of charge. You only pay attorney’s fees when he successfully recovers compensation on your behalf. When you choose Barry Pasternack, you’re selecting a skilled legal professional who will tirelessly fight for your rights and work diligently to help you on your path to recovery.

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