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CALIFORNIA UNINSURED MOTORIST ACCIDENT CASES

It should come as no surprise, but approximately one out of every three drivers on California Roads today is either uninsured or inadequately insured. This is a staggering statistic but it should make you think about the importance of obtaining good uninsured motorist coverage on your end so you can take responsibility for the reality that many drivers have no auto insurance or not enough auto insurance. Most of the time, these "uninsured motorists," typically drive the most unreliable (mechanically unreliable), and unsafe cars, and, also they are the least careful drivers! Most folks who decide not take responsibility financially with uninsured motorist insurance coverage, fail to take responsibility of other items like their automobiles. Thus, in California, almost one out of every two auto accidents is caused by an uninsured or inadequately insured driver.

The big question is what can you do to protect yourself financially from them? Keep reading to find out what you can do to protect you and your family!

WHAT IS CALIFORNIA "UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE?"

Uninsured (including under-insured; also known as UIM) motorist (UM) coverage is a part of almost every automobile policy sold in the great state of California. Your uninsured motorist auto coverage is designed and drafted to compensate you financially for a loss (damages) which you sustain in a car accident, and which is caused directly by a driver who is uninsured, or inadequately insured.  When such an accident or loss occurs your own insurance company "steps into the shoes" of the party who was without insurance to compensate you for your loss (damages). Thus, your auto insurance company is required by California law to include uninsured motorist coverage as part of every automobile policy written, unless you specifically decline it, in writing. This is key - any declination of UM or UIM coverage in California must be signed by you (in writing). Coverage amounts (policy limits) are usually designated on the face page (also known as "Dec Page") of your automobile insurance policy by the letter or letters "U" or "UM" (sometimes "UIM").

OKAY....WHO IS INSURED BY MY UNINSURED MOTORIST POLICY?

The moment you purchase uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as part of your overall automobile insurance policy, it affords insurance and uninsured insurance coverage for you, and all members of your family who reside in your household with you. It would also include any minor children of yours who do not reside with you or your children who are away at college. Unless their are any specific exclusions for persons on your auto policy, this is true and the coverages will be extended as explained above.

IMPORTANT POINT:  You do not have to be an automobile driver or passenger in order to be eligible for benefits. Your automobile UM policy applies even if you were a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or bystander, so long as the motorist who caused your injuries was uninsured or under-insured.

Your uninsured motorist insurance auto coverage also applies for the benefit of other passengers in your car or other people driving your car with your permission, and who are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Thus, it is considered an expansive policy covering everyone inside the vehicle compartment. Remember, as long as you give permission to any other person to drive your car the coverage will apply - if the car was taken without your permission, the coverage may not apply!

AT WHAT TIME DOES A CALIFORNIA UNINSURED MOTORIST POLICY APPLY?

California uninsured motorist vehicle insurance coverage applies whenever anyone who is insured is injured by a driver who is uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) which effectively means "does not have enough insurance to pay for the damages they caused." An uninsured driver in California includes a hit-and-run driver, so long as there is some actual contact from the hit-and-run driver's vehicle. Remember, this point is crucial - there must be proof of "vehicle-on-vehicle" contact in order to trigger the UM or UIM benefits.

ALL RIGHT, WHAT EXACTLY IS UNDER-INSURED MOTORIST (UIM) COVERAGE & WHEN WOULD THAT APPLY? 

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) only applies if the other driver's liability limits are lower than your uninsured coverage (UM) limits. Therefore this means, if the at-fault driver who causes the accident has a liability policy of say $50,000.00 per person, you are not entitled to any uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits if your uninsured motorist coverage is for $50,000.00 per person/$100,000.00 aggregate. "Aggregate" is just a fancy way of saying "per occurrence." 

If, on the other hand, you have uninsured motorist coverage of $100,000.00 per person/$300,000.00 aggregate, you could receive up to the $50,000.00 difference from your own company for an injury to one person, and up to $100,000.00 additional insurance from your own company if there were injuries to two or more of your family members, or passengers that were inside your car at the time of the underinsured motorist accident.

WHAT LOSSES (DAMAGES) ARE COVERED?

Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to compensate you for both your financial and your non-financial losses which you sustain from an accident, and for which you have a legal claim as a result of the negligence of an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver in California. Your "financial losses" would include any medical expenses which you reasonably and necessarily required as a result of such an accident, any loss of income or earnings, any diminution in your ability to earn money in the future, or any various out-of-pocket expenses such as household, and related help and like assistance.

Non-financial damages include such things like loss of ability to enjoy or engage in certain activities as a result of injuries, treatment schedules, pain and suffering, permanent impairment under the AMA guidelines, and other such objective (and subjective) losses for which you are entitled to monetary compensation under California law. There is usually no exact way of pinpointing an appropriate amount of compensation for this factor or "value driver," but insurance claims adjusters and attorneys are often able to come to an accommodation based upon the severity of the injury, whether it fully heals, what kinds of treatment are necessary and how much time is required in order to achieve an optimum recovery. However, this is also why more objective findings are needed like the AMA impairment - this also means more lawyers need to step up and argue the guidelines during negotiations for settlement and California jury trial.

HOW MUCH UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE MUST MY CALIFORNIA AUTO INSURANCE COMPANY OFFER ME?

Your insurance company in California is only required to issue an uninsured motorist policy in a minimum amount of $30,000.00 per person/ $60,000.00 aggregate, regardless of the fact that you might be purchasing a much higher liability policy (the portion of your auto policy which pays others for injuries to others when you are at fault). Furthermore, if your liability policy is less than $30,000.00/$60,000.00, your insurance company will only issue UM coverage in a matching amount. Thus, if you have a $15,000.00/$30,000.00 liability policy, your insurance company will offer uninsured motorist coverage for only $15,000.00/$30,000.00. Not many people in California are aware of this. However, many, if not most auto insurance companies will allow you to purchase uninsured motorist benefits in an amount equal to your liability policy. Thus, if you have a $100,000.00/$300,000.00 liability policy for example, you usually will be able to purchase uninsured motorist benefits in that amount as well. I ALWAYS recommend you purchase an equal amount of liability and uninsured motorist coverage benefits whenever possible!

CAUTION TO THE CONSUMER: Many automobile insurance companies will automatically issue a $30,000.00/$60,000.00 policy of uninsured motorist benefits when issuing a policy with higher liability limits. If this happens to you, contact your broker immediately and find out how much more it would cost to have your uninsured motorist benefits raised to match your liability policy limit. Everyone reading this website page should immediately review their auto policy to make sure they know their California uninsured motorist limits.

OKAY, THANKS FOR THE DETAILS ABOVE...SO JUST HOW MUCH CALIFORNIA UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE DO I NEED?

As many of you are aware, this is a personal financial question, and there is no one correct answer because everyone has a different financial situation. However, to some extent, the amount of UM coverage that you need in California will be tied in to the amount of liability insurance that you can afford. Also, depending if you are a high-income earner, and a prolonged physical injury from an uninsured motorist accident would substantially impair your earning capacity, you should have substantial UM protection on your policy and perhaps an umbrella coverage for more coverage - sometimes covered under your home insurance policy. Check your insurance carrier for more details!

To this end, no prudent  or responsible person should have less than $100,000.00 per person/$300,000.00 aggregate of uninsured motorist protection. Of course, this will mean that your liability policy needs to be written in that amount too. If you can afford more, like $250,000.00 or more, then I recommend that amount as well. The reason? Well, the cost of purchasing this coverage may be a stretch financially for some people, but it is usually not as much as you might think - sometimes for just $20.00 more per month you can have a substantial jump in auto UM coverage. In my opinion, it is just too risky to drive around in California without a good amount of UM coverage plain and simple.

CALL UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE LAWYER MARK C. BLANE TODAY AT (619) 813-7955 FOR MORE INFORMATION ON YOUR INJURY CLAIM - OR, GRAB A FEW OF HIS FREE BOOKS FOR MORE INFORMATION SO YOU CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION ON YOUR LEGAL CASE!

 


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Library for Uninsured (UM) Motorist Claims:

  • FREE Legal Information for You if you have been involved in a Calfornia Uninsured Motorist Accident. Get this information NOW, BEFORE you hire a Lawyer, speak with a Claims Adjuster, or sign any Legal Forms.
    Description: California Uninsured Motorist accidents come about due to the fact that an at-fault party was without auto insurance, or did not have enough auto insurance to cover for your injuries. Thus, it becomes necessary to file a claim under your Uninsured Motorist benefits known as a UM claim, or a UIM (under-insured motorist) Claim if the at-fault party had minimal limits.
  • Why California State Minimal Limits in Uninsured Motorist Coverage Can Work Against You in your Car Accident Case
    Description: California law allows $15,000.00 per person, and $30,000.00 aggregate as the least amount a person can purchase for Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This means you have $15,000.00 for you or any one person injured, and $30,000.00 for two or more injured persons (aggregate). Since this is true, having the least amount allowable by law, also known as "state minimal limits," can work against you in a car accident in the following ways:

    1. if the other party has no insurance, you are limited to only $15,000.00 for your own bodily injury claim;

    2. if you have medical bills in excess of $15,000.00, you are forced to either settle on the limits, or sue the other party directly; however, if the other party had no insurance, then statistically the chances of the other party having assets or other coverage to go after diminishes dramatically;

    3. if you have more than two people in your car, all injured, you are limited to only $30,000.00 for everyone; again, if medical bills get expensive, this becomes a major problem;
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    Description: Uninsured motorist coverage will impact the course of your California car accident claim. For legal help, call 1-888-845-6269 or 619-813-7955.

  • Minimal Limit on Uninsured Motorist Coverage After a California Auto Accident

    Description: The minimal limit on uninsured motorist coverage may not be sufficient after a California auto accident. For legal help, call 1-888-845-6269 or 619-813-7955.

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    Description: VIDEO BLOG: Consider Increasing your California Auto Coverage if you only have California "State Minimal Limits" of 15/30... Often people who have car insurance coverage on their insurance policy only have the minimum required coverage by law. In the state of California, the minimum is $15,000 per person for liability coverage. However, it may be in your best interest to go for a higher policy.

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    Description: Video Blog: Why California Uninsured Motorist Coverage is Important: Hundreds of car accidents happen on the roadways every single day, and it is an unfortunate truth that not every motorist on the road has insurance. Because of this, if you get into an accident, there is a possibility that it could be with an uninsured motorist. It is extremely important for you to have uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy.

  • Consider Cost in Medical Care When Buying Uninsured Motorist Protection | San Diego Car Accident Lawyer

    Description: San Diego Uninsured Motorist Accident Attorney Mark C. Blane explains, when taking out an uninsured motorist policy on your insurance, it is important to consider the cost of care you may need. Often, the minimum $15,000 per person required by California law may not be enough. Automobile accident injuries can be extremely serious and can require not only immediate treatment or hospitalization, but can have long term effects which require future treatment.

  • What is a California Uninsured Motorist Claim? San Diego Car Accident Lawyer

    Description: San Diego uninsured motorist injury attorney Mark C. Blane explains what an uninsured motorist claim for bodily injuries means and why having a clear understanding of this can be vital whether you are a car passenger, pedestrian or bicyclist. Watch this video and learn more. Choosing car insurance can be difficult and retaining all of the coverage you deserve can be confusing.


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