What Should I Do If I am Involved in an Accident With an Uninsured Driver?

California motorists are required by law to have insurance before legally riding on the road. Still, it is not uncommon for an accident to occur involving an uninsured driver. When this happens, things can get more complicated than usual.

What are the requirements for car insurance in California?

Each state may have different requirements for the minimum policy that drivers and riders must hold. If you ride your motorcycle without insurance in California, you can face fines of up to $500, and your vehicle can get impounded. In California, drivers and riders are required to have a minimum policy of:

  1. Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person/$30,000 total per accident
    • If you are liable for an accident, your insurance will cover the other party’s injuries up to $15,000 per person, and up to $30,000 in total per accident. If the other party’s medical bills end up being greater than your policy limit, they have the option to sue you for the rest. This is why it is not always recommended to just buy a minimum policy.
  2. Property damage liability coverage: $5,000 per accident
    • If you are liable for an accident, your insurance will cover the other party’s property damage expenses up to $5,000. If their property damages are greater than your policy limit of $5,000, then the other party has the option to sue you for the rest.

Can I recover losses from an uninsured driver?

Luckily, if you have under-insured motorist “UIM” or uninsured motorist “UM” coverage, you can recover losses even if the other driver did not have insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage is able to cover an amount, depending on your policy, for your and your passengers’ injuries in the event that the other driver has no insurance. In addition, if you have UIM coverage, your insurance can cover the remaining costs of your damages if the other party has a minimum policy and your damages exceed their limits.

What often happens with UM and UIM coverage is that insurance companies and their adjusters are hesitant to give money to their own insured. Insurance adjusters are trained to use specific tactics to find ways and loopholes that will allow them to pay you as little as possible, or not at all. This is why we always recommend contacting an attorney after being involved in an accident where you were not liable.

Why might my UM/UIM claim be denied by my insurance?

There are many reasons that an insurance adjuster may use to justify their denial of your UM or UIM claim. Some of these reasons may sound unfair and untrue, and they very well may be! As mentioned earlier, these are the tactics that are used to minimize payouts. Some examples of justifications for denying a claim include:

  • Your injuries are caused by a pre-existing medical condition rather than the accident
  • The amount of medical treatment you received was excessive considering the extent of your injuries
  • Your injuries are a result of old age, not the accident
  • Your general damages like emotional and physical distress are devalued and not worth as much money as is being demanded