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Were you hit by an uninsured driver in California?

Everyone who drives a motor vehicle is supposed to carry at least liability insurance in order to pay for any damage he or she causes on the road. But just because something is supposed to happen, doesn't mean it will.

Many people still drive without insurance, and many get into accidents that cause significant injuries and property damage. This is why auto insurance policies have an option to include uninsured motorist coverage. The idea is that by carrying uninsured motorist coverage, a person who is hit by an uninsured driver won't be left high and dry.

Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage In California

Exactly how you are compensated for injuries suffered in an uninsured motorist accident can vary depending on the state you live in and the specific provisions of your insurance policy.

In California, if the other driver does have the minimum amount of liability auto insurance, that coverage should cover at least $15,000 for one victim’s injuries (or $30,000 if more than one person was injured). Another $5,000 is allocated for property damage.

Limits are somewhat lower for people who are participants in California's Low Cost Auto Insurance Program. People who apply for this program must meet certain requirements based on their limited income and good driving record.

When a person is offered uninsured motorist coverage as part of their own insurance package, the coverage amounts are generally in line with their liability coverage. Choosing to buy more coverage means you should be taken care of if a more serious injury occurs, so long as the costs don't exceed the coverage maximums.

When injuries do cost more, it is possible to sue the person at fault for the difference. The courts may ask that he or she liquidate assets, if necessary, in order to make any obligated payments. In most cases, however, those without insurance don't have many assets to liquidate. Your best bet at compensation is with your own insurance company, and this too can be an uphill battle.

Asserting Your Uninsured Motorist Claim

When an accident happens, some insurance companies can be quick to offer a settlement that they believe will satisfy you. While it can be tempting to take the money and move on, it's important to take a closer look.

Overall, the costs of a personal injury can add up to a lot more than your initial hospital bill. You may lose income from not being able to work, have additional costs in caring for yourself or your family, or you may even have lower earning potential in the years to come. It is rare for an insurance company to factor all these things in when without a little extra encouragement from a personal injury attorney.

If you're in an accident, get the medical attention you need and gather as much information as you can about the accident. Then, take advantage of a free consultation with an attorney. Having an attorney on your side can make a significant difference when it comes to getting the compensation you need.

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Ball & Bonholtzer
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