California law only requires a low level of liability coverage for car accidents, which may leave you wondering who will pay for your injuries.
If you’re in a car accident, you probably think that the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover your claim in full. After all, isn’t that the point of laws requiring everyone to have car insurance?
Unfortunately, in some cases, the other driver has the bare minimum car insurance coverage — just enough to comply with the law, but not necessarily enough to fully cover your losses. A skilled car accident attorney can help in these situations, fighting to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve from both the other driver’s insurance company, and possibly your own insurance as well.
California Minimum Liability Coverage
In California, as in most states, all registered drivers are required to carry car insurance liability coverage. This means that if a driver causes an accident, the victim or victims of that accident can be compensated for their losses.
Under this law, drivers only need to have a certain level of minimum liability coverage. Many drivers choose this level of coverage because it is the least expensive — and because they probably don’t think that they will ever need to use it. In California, the minimum liability coverage that a driver must have is $5,000 for property damage, $15,000 for each injured person (or death), and $30,000 for each accident that injures more than one person.
While these limits may be sufficient for a minor accident causing non-serious injuries, it will rarely be adequate for anything more serious — including a death. For example, if two drivers are involved in a fender bender that resulted in a sprain or some bruises, $15,000 should be plenty of money to cover the victim’s injuries, and $5,000 should be enough to cover damage to the car. But if there are more significant injuries involved — such as traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, injuries requiring surgery or hospitalizations — these limits will not likely come close to covering the medical costs. This is particularly true if a person requires ongoing medical treatment, including rehabilitation, or if a person has lost wages.
In some situations, the insurance company of the at-fault driver may even resist paying out these minimal amounts — making it all the more important that you retain an experienced car accident attorney. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company, filing a claim against them directly or even against the negligent driver.
In addition, you may have underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage through your own car insurance. This type of coverage provides additional funds in the event that your injuries or damages exceed the limits of the coverage available through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. It also provides compensation if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. Just like dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, filing a claim against your own insurance company to get UIM coverage can be challenging. A skilled car accident attorney can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
If you have been hurt in a California car accident, contact the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker today at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team of attorneys has years of experience handling all types of car accident cases, including those with minimum coverage and UIM issues. We offer free consultations and never charge a fee unless we get money for you!