CAR ACCIDENT – Traffic Collision with an Uninsured Driver, What Can I Do?
June 17, 2019
Being an uninsured driver in California is illegal, however not all drivers are in compliance and many remain uninsured. Despite having state requirements for minimum liability insurance, there are plenty of uninsured drivers in California. Those involved in a traffic collision with an uninsured driver may find themselves asking: “What do I do if I was in a traffic collision and I was uninsured?” The answer is two fold:
(1) If You Were At Fault for the traffic collision and Uninsured at the time, you cannot recover damages for your medical bills, injuries or resulting property damage. More importantly, the other driver whom was not at fault may still have the right to file a lawsuit directly against you for damages, which means that your personal assets and property could be at risk.
(2) If You Were Not At Fault for the traffic collision and Uninsured at the time, your damages are capped and you can only recover economic damages.California maintains a “No Pay, No Play” rule for drivers that are uninsured. This rule limits the amount of compensation an uninsured driver can recover in a traffic collision. Specifically, the uninsured driver can seek economic damages from the other driver’s liability policy (assuming that the other driver is at-fault and caused the accident). Economic damages include compensation for medical bills and loss income; however, the uninsured driver cannot seek damages for non-economic losses. Capping damages to economic losses only, prevents the uninsured driver from seeking damages for things like pain, suffering, emotional distress or loss of quality of life.
The various types of auto insurance coverage are explained below.
|Type of Insurance||WHO does it Cover?||WHAT does it Cover?|
|Liability insurance compensates a person other than the policyholder for personal injury or property damage. This could be the cost of medical care for people injured in an accident or the repair cost of damage to other vehicles.|
|Medical Payment |
|Policyholder||Medical Payments (often called Med Pay) covers the medical payments of all passengers in the policyholder’s vehicle if they are injured in an accident. Med Pay will cover the medical costs resulting from an auto accident, regardless of who was at fault.|
|Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist|
|Policyholder||Uninsured motorist coverage protects the policyholder if the holder is in an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t carry liability insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage, on the other hand, steps in when the policyholder is in an accident with an at-fault driver whose liability limits are too low to cover the damage or medical expenses|
|Physical Damage Coverage||Policyholder’s Vehicle||Automobile insurance coverage that insures against damage to the policyholder’s own vehicle. Coverage is provided for perils such as collision, vandalism, theft, fire etc…|
If you have questions about your automobile insurance coverage or were involved in a traffic collision with an uninsured driver, we invite you to call us today at 619-432-5145 for a free consultation with one of our experienced uninsured driver attorneys.