In Fresno, state law requires all motorists to carry liability insurance. This insurance exists to protect drivers from third-party liability claims in situations where they are responsible for an accident. Despite these requirements, the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports more than 15 percent of California drivers lack liability coverage.
The stress of a major car accident is enough for any injury victim. This stress is often magnified for drivers who learn the at-fault motorist did not have liability insurance coverage. This situation could leave an injury victim buried in medical debt through no fault of their own.
If you suffered injuries in a collision with an uninsured driver, the attorneys of Ben Crump Law, PLLC are here to help. To get connected with a Fresno uninsured car accident lawyer, start by calling (800) 598-7557 for your free consultation with a team member right away.
Insurance Requirements for Fresno Drivers
Like all states, California requires drivers to provide proof of financial responsibility in the case of a motor vehicle accident. This is done by maintaining the appropriate amount of liability coverage. The minimum insurance requirements for California drivers are codified at California Vehicle Code (VEH) § 16020.
This statute requires drivers to maintain a minimum level of liability insurance coverage for property damage and bodily injury claims brought by other motorists. It is important to note that this coverage only protects the insured from claims by other drivers, it does not provide benefits to the insured diver following a wreck. Other forms of insurance exist for that purpose.
Not just any amount of liability insurance coverage will satisfy state requirements. The law mandates a minimum level of coverage for each driver, which includes:
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death. In other words, your policy will pay up to $15,000 if you injure another individual in a crash.
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death per accident. In addition to the per person limit mentioned above, your policy must also cover at least $30,000 combined for all injury victims in a crash you cause.
- $5,000 for property damage. Typically, this involves the cost of repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle. These claims can relate to personal property within the vehicle as well.
These requirements are the bare minimum coverage a motorist must carry. However, many drivers choose to hold more than the minimum levels. After all, it is not uncommon for injuries and property damage bills to far exceed the amount of minimum coverage required under the law. Drivers that do not have enough insurance coverage are personally responsible for paying for any damages left over after the policy pays out its limits.
For a free legal consultation with a uninsured car accidents lawyer serving Fresno, call (800) 598-7557
Legal Options Following an Accident
The prospect of an accident with an uninsured motorist might be daunting, but the good news is you have options for holding them accountable. This is true if you were driving a car, riding a bicycle, or even traveling on foot. In general, there are three options that might be available to you. These options depend on the insurance coverage both you and the other driver might carry.
File a Claim with the Other Insurance Company
In most accidents, your best option is to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If their driver was clearly in the wrong, the insurance company often pays out on the claim in short order. In this situation, you will be entitled to recover the amount of damages you can establish—up to the maximum limits provided by the policy.
Unfortunately, this approach is not an option in cases where the other driver lacks insurance. There are countless reasons why a driver might not be insured. Some motorists obtain coverage long enough to register their vehicles, only to drop it later to avoid the premiums. Other motorists simply forget to renew their policies. Regardless of the reasons, an uninsured motorist forecloses on the possibility of pursuing a claim against their liability carrier.
There is also the issue of underinsured drivers. Underinsured drivers are motorists that have liability insurance, but they lack the coverage needed to pay your full claim. In this case, you might only get a fraction of what your claim is worth from the other insurance company.
File a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company
You might be able to pursue a claim with your own insurance company. Your ability to do so depends entirely on the type of insurance coverage you have. While you cannot file a claim on your liability policy, you could have better luck with a comprehensive insurance policy.
Comprehensive insurance not only protects you from third-party liability claims, it also provides benefits if you are involved in a crash. These benefits are available no matter if you were at fault or not.
Another type of policy that could result in compensation is an uninsured motorist (UIM) policy. A UIM policy allows you to seek compensation in situations where you suffered injuries in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
The issue with comprehensive or UIM coverage is that it is voluntary. Because it typically costs more than basic liability insurance, it costs more to maintain. For that reason, many drivers do not carry this insurance. If you do not have this type of coverage, your carrier will not pay out on your claim.
File Suit Against the Other Driver
Even if insurance coverage is not available, you still have the right to file suit against the uninsured driver. The issue often arises, however, that these drivers lack the assets needed to pay your claim. Even so, a lawsuit could be in your best interest. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC to work with a Fresno uninsured car accident lawyer to learn more.
Fresno Uninsured Car Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 598-7557
You Could Recover Compensation Following a Crash with an Uninsured Motorist
If you suffer losses in a crash with an uninsured motorist, you might not be out of luck. Depending on the type of insurance you carry, your own insurer might cover your claim. Even if insurance is not an option, the team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC could advise you on how to recover the damages you deserve. Call (800) 598-7557 for a free consultation. A Fresno uninsured car accident lawyer is eager to begin building your case.