California law requires that all drivers carrier auto insurance. However, sometimes people get into accidents caused by other drivers who do not have proper insurance coverage to cover the damages. The most obvious reason for this is that some people either intentionally or intentionally drive without insurance.
More commonly, they carrier insurance, but it is not sufficient to cover the costs involved in an accident. California law only requires that drivers carry insurance starting at a $15,000 bodily injury liability limit for one individual, and a $30,000 total limit (meaning no matter how many other people may have been in the car, the insurance company will only pay out a total of $30,000 for one accident).
As most people know, due to the rising costs of health care, one trip to the hospital for serious treatment can end up costing you $15,000 just by itself, to say nothing of the follow-up care you might need. Even for people who are in minor accidents, the long-term cost of care can exceed $15,000 rather easily. This is even without factoring in additional compensation for injuries that can’t be quantified, i.e., pain and suffering.
When you are injured because of another driver, and their insurance is insufficient to cover your bills, you have two options: 1) pursue the other driver personally; 2) go to your own insurance company.
The first option is not ideal, because very few drivers, especially those with low policy limits, have sufficient personal assets to cover a fair settlement. Recovering money from an individual’s assets can be a difficult and time-consuming process.
The second option is where Uninsured or Uninsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage comes into play. UM coverage is when the other driver has no insurance at all, and UIM coverage applies when the other driver’s policy limits have been reached. UIM coverage can be used for expenses like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
For example, say you have $50,000 in expenses due to an accident. The other driver had the minimum $15,000 coverage, but you had $30,000 in UIM coverage. After collecting the $15,000 from the other driver, you make a claim with your insurance company to trigger the UIM coverage, which would allow you to collect an additional $15,000. You do not get the full $30,000, even though your expenses are higher than that, because an insurance company is only legally obligated to pay you the full coverage amount minus other contributions that are made.
If you have been in an accident and are having issues with insurance coverage, please contact Hariri Law Group at 619-363-2889 for a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you regarding your case. Southern California personal injury attorneys: San Diego, Orange County, Murrieta, Los Angeles. www.haririlaw.com *Disclaimer: Every case is fact specific. In order to properly assess your case please contact one of our experienced attorneys.