If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, you are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the negligent driver who struck you. The amount you deserve could be substantial if you suffered serious injuries—which is common in pedestrian collisions.
However, you may discover that the motorist is uninsured or underinsured. This can make pursuing your claim for damages much more complicated.
What Is the Minimum Liability Insurance Coverage Required in California?
In California, all drivers of passenger vehicles must have a certain amount of liability insurance coverage. It is against the law to drive without this insurance. Here are the minimum amounts of liability insurance required in our state:
- $15,000 for injuries or death to one person
- $30,000 for injuries or death per accident
- $5,000 for property damages
How Can Your Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Coverage Help You in a Pedestrian Accident?
Although the mandatory insurance amount is very low, many drivers in California drive without insurance. In addition, if they only have $15,000 in insurance, this would not fully compensate you for your losses even if you suffered a minor injury.
Fortunately, you may be able to file a claim for compensation under your own auto insurance policy. If you purchased uninsured/underinsured coverage, you can file a claim up to the policy limits for your injuries. It protects you regardless of whether you’re driving or the victim of a pedestrian collision.
Although this type of insurance is not mandatory in California, your insurance company was required to offer it to you. You are entitled to uninsured/underinsured coverage if you are the named insured under the policy or a family member who lives in the same household as the insured individual.
Can You Sue the Negligent Motorist?
Another option you have is to sue the uninsured or underinsured driver who caused your injuries. You need the assistance of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer to file your lawsuit and protect your rights. Even if it does not appear that the motorist has many assets to pay you what they owe under the judgment, you do not want to lose this avenue of compensation.
What Steps Should You Take If You Are Struck by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
You need to take action to protect your right to compensation right after your pedestrian collision. Here are six steps you should take:
- Call the police. You should contact the police at the scene of your accident even if you believe the negligent driver has little or no insurance. The police report will help you prove the other driver’s fault in causing your accident—which you will need to establish even if you are filing a claim with your own insurance company.
- Get prompt medical care. Getting immediate medical care protects your health and avoids disputes with the insurance company about the cause of your injuries or how serious they are. You should be examined by a doctor within 48 hours of your collision whether or not you believe you suffered injuries.
- Obtain contact information. You should get the contact information for the negligent driver and their insurance company if there is one. You also need this information for any eyewitnesses to your accident who can corroborate how it happened.
- Take pictures. You should take pictures of the damage to the vehicle that struck you, the crash scene, and your injuries with your cellphone camera. This may help you establish the driver’s negligence and can be compelling evidence to show the insurance adjuster or jury.
- Contact your insurance company. You should report the pedestrian accident to your insurance company right away. This protects your right to file a claim under your uninsured or underinsured coverages if you need to.
- Retain a lawyer. You should hire a knowledgeable pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. They can collect the evidence you need and negotiate your settlement so that you receive the maximum recovery.
Were you injured in a pedestrian accident in San Diego or Southern California? Contact my office to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn about your options and how I can assist you.