Los Angeles Underinsured Motorist Accident Lawyer
All drivers in the state of California are legally required to carry minimum amounts of automobile insurance. Unfortunately, hundreds of drivers break this law every day by driving while underinsured. Even if a driver legally has adequate insurance, it may not be enough to cover your bills and losses for a serious accident.
If you get into a car accident and the other driver involved does not have enough insurance to pay for the damage, contact a Las Angeles uninsured car accident lawyer from Rose, Klein & Marias LLP for assistance. We can help you understand your rights and potential legal options.
Why Choose a Los Angeles Uninsured Motorist Accident Attorney From Rose, Klein, & Marias?
- We have been helping injured accident victims recover since 1936.
- Our attorneys have collected millions of dollars on behalf of their clients.
- You will communicate frequently and openly with your Los Angeles car accident attorney.
- We have the power to take insurance companies to court, if necessary.
- You won’t pay your attorney a dime unless you win your case, guaranteed.
Required Car Insurance in California
California law requires all motor vehicle operators to purchase and maintain minimum amounts of automobile insurance. This insurance enables a driver to pay for someone else’s medical bills and property damage after causing a car accident. Drivers must show proof of this insurance or financial responsibility during traffic stops. The minimum required amounts are:
- $15,000 in bodily injury or death coverage per person
- $30,000 in bodily injury or death coverage per accident
- $5,000 in property damage coverage per accident
Most drivers use traditional auto insurance policies. However, other acceptable forms of insurance include a cash deposit of $35,000 with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a DMV-issued self-insurance certificate or a surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California.
What Is Underinsured Motorist Insurance?
California’s insurance requirements are among the lowest in the country. After a car accident, it is common for the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy not to have enough coverage for a victim’s losses. If the victim’s vehicle is totaled, for example, it is unlikely that $5,000 in property damage coverage will be enough to pay for the full pre-crash value of the car. Any serious or catastrophic injuries will also most likely require more than $30,000 in medical bills. The solution for drivers is underinsured motorist insurance.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM) are two optional types of insurance that are available – but not mandatory – for drivers in California. Every car insurance policy purchased in California automatically comes with UM and UIM insurance. If a driver does not want this type of insurance, he or she must reject it in writing. However, it is presumed that a driver will have this type of insurance for additional coverage in the event of an accident.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance can pay for a victim’s damages if the at-fault driver does not have enough liability insurance to cover 100 percent of the losses. UIM insurance will pay the victim up to his or her policy’s maximum, which may be $30,000, $60,000 or $100,000, depending on how much the individual has purchased. If you get into a car accident in Los Angeles with an underinsured driver, your UIM insurance can provide a financial safety net. If you opted out of UM/UIM coverage, however, other legal options may be available to you.
Third-Party Liability for an Underinsured Motorist Accident
The other driver involved in your car accident may not be your only option for holding someone else liable (legally and financially responsible) for your damages. There are many car accident cases where a third party is held liable for contributing to the crash. In these scenarios, you may be able to file a claim against a third party to pursue compensation beyond what the other driver’s insurance policy can provide. Examples include:
- The driver’s employer, if the driver was performing work-related tasks at the time.
- A trucking company for an accident involving a commercial truck.
- Uber or Lyft for an accident involving a rideshare vehicle in Los Angeles.
- An auto part manufacturer for a defective vehicle part.
- The government for a dangerous road defect or hazard.
- A negligent landowner if the car accident occurred on private property.
Naming multiple defendants can increase your odds of making a full financial recovery after a car accident, as it will give you access to greater insurance coverage. Commercial motor vehicle operators, for example, must carry greater amounts of insurance than standard drivers under California law. A comprehensive investigation by a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles can help you identify all potentially liable parties for your claim.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident With an Underinsured Motorist
If you get injured in a car accident with an underinsured driver in Los Angeles, there are steps you must take to protect your health, safety and legal rights. Here’s what to do:
- Remain calm and check for yourself and others for injuries.
- Move your disabled vehicle to the side of the road, if possible, to avoid further accidents.
- Call 911. Report the car accident to the police right away and request an ambulance, if necessary.
- Your adrenaline might mask pain at first, so seek medical attention immediately even if you feel fine.
- Take photographs of the scene of the car accident, capturing any important details.
- Exchange names, contact information and insurance information with the other driver.
- Call your car insurance company to report the accident and ask about uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
- File an initial claim with the other driver’s insurance carrier.
- Do not accept a fast insurance settlement, especially if it is less than you need for your losses.
- Contact a car accident attorney if you find out that the other driver is underinsured.
An attorney can explore your other legal options if the driver involved in your crash does not have adequate insurance to fully pay for your medical bills and property losses.
Speak to a Los Angeles Underinsured Motorist Attorney Today
If you were recently injured in an accident involving an underinsured motorist in Los Angeles or Southern California, we can help. Contact Rose, Klein & Marias LLP to speak to an attorney about your case at no cost or obligation. We will advise you on how to proceed with your car insurance claim and can take over settlement negotiations for you. We have the ability to take your case to court, if this is necessary for fair compensation for a serious injury. Call (800) 362-7427 today to learn more.