Getting into an accident with an uninsured driver is scary. After all, without insurance, who will pay for your medical expenses and damages to your car? How will you support your family while you are recovering without compensation? Unfortunately, this is a common scenario, especially in California. Even though California law requires all drivers to purchase auto insurance, not everyone does. In fact, in 2015, more than 15 percent of all drivers in California did not carry insurance.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it is difficult to know what to do. Yet, there are steps that you can take to help your claim after an accident with an uninsured driver.
Step One: Call 911
First, if you or anyone else suffered an injury, then it is important to call 911. This will alert the police and emergency medical services that an accident occurred. After the police have arrived, they will fill out an accident report. This report will contain information that may help you receive the compensation you need to cover accident expenses. In addition, medical teams will document your injuries and treat them quickly and efficiently.
Step Two: Exchange Information
After contacting the police and receiving medical treatment, it is important to exchange information with the other driver. Even if the other driver is uninsured, you should get their name, address, license number and any other identifying information. However, you should only do this if your injuries are minor and you are physically able. Finally, if there are eyewitnesses to the accident, then be sure to get their information as well.
Step Three: Contact Your Insurer
Along with exchanging information with the other driver, you should inform your insurance company of the accident. If you have uninsured motorist (UM) insurance, then your agent can provide you with the information you need to obtain compensation. However, you should never admit to blame or fault when talking to your insurance company. This will only make recovering compensation more difficult.
Step Four: Contact an Attorney
While contacting your insurer is crucial, you should also take the time to obtain legal representation. It is best to hire an attorney with experience handling car accident claims in California. He or she can handle your claim with the insurance company and protect your rights. This will help you focus on what really matters most – your recovery.
What Is Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance in California?
After reading through these steps, you may have questions about UM insurance in California. Essentially, UM insurance is optional coverage that can be added to your auto insurance policy. It pays for your damages when another driver is at fault for the accident and has no auto insurance. California law requires insurance companies to offer all drivers this insurance coverage. However, you always have the option to refuse it.
Finally, it is important to investigate all UM accidents carefully. In some situations, another party might share the liability for the crash. If this is the case, then you could seek compensation from their insurance policy.
For example, if an uninsured drunk driver hits you and injures you in a car accident, then the restaurant or bar may share the liability if they continued to serve an intoxicated guest. In this scenario, California’s dram shop liability law would apply, and an attorney could file a claim against the negligent establishment to collect compensation.
Contact a San Jose Auto Accident Lawyer Near You
If you suffered an injury in an accident with an uninsured driver, then you may need help. Collecting the money you need after an accident with an uninsured driver is not easy. Therefore, you need an experienced San Jose auto accident lawyer on your side. At the Law Offices of Braid Pezzaglia, we know how to negotiate with insurance companies after a variety of accidents. Contact us today at (408) 650-8955 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a free consultation.