The Insurance Research Institute estimates that 1 in 6 drivers on U.S. roads do not carry auto insurance. An even greater number carry only the minimum amount required by law, and, in tough economic times, many people let their insurance coverage lapse.
If you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to sufficient compensation to cover your medical bills, your pain and suffering, wages lost due to the injury, related property losses, and more; however, if the driver responsible for your injuries was not insured, you may not be able to recover any money from him or her. Instead, you may have to pursue compensation from your own insurance company.
In addition, if the driver who injured you was underinsured, his or her policy may provide only partial compensation for the harm you have suffered. In such cases, you may file an underinsured motorist claim in order to recover additional funds from your own insurance company. Such a claim would address both economic losses and non-economic types of harm—such as pain and suffering or disfigurement.
The uninsured/underinsured motorist policy would also cover your losses if you were injured in a hit-and-run accident by a driver who cannot be traced. Your coverage would protect you even if you were a pedestrian or were riding your bicycle when you were injured by an uninsured or a hit-and-run driver. It would also protect you if you were a passenger, rather than driving your car.
In addressing your claim, your insurance company has a duty to make a good faith effort to reach a proper resolution. However, the insurance company has no duty to ensure that all your losses are fully presented and addressed—and it does have an interest in limiting the amount that it pays out. Therefore, even in cases that involve uninsured or underinsured motorist claims, you should consult an experienced California car accident attorney. In pursuing full compensation for the harm that you suffered, an effective attorney would make sure that all your damages, both economic and non-economic losses, are properly presented, and that the insurance company complies fully with the terms of its own policy.
If an insurance company fails to fulfill its duties to its client, it may face claims of breach of contract or bad faith failure to settle. By hiring an attorney to represent you, you are putting the insurance company on notice that you are ready to take advantage of all your legal rights if your claims are not handled properly.
If you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, and you or one of your family members was injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, please contact the personal injury attorneys at Ziff & Cohn as soon as possible.
Based in Los Altos, California, our experienced attorneys offer a free initial consultation in all car accident cases. We handle all personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis: you pay no legal fees unless you receive a monetary recovery.
If you are interested in pursuing compensation for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, please contact us today by calling our Los Altos office at (650) 329-0851, emailing Harvey L. Ziff and Adrienne Z. Cohn, or filling out and submitting our “Contact Us” form.