Out of all 50 states and Washington, D.C., only New Hampshire does not have a law making it mandatory for all drivers to carry liability insurance covering minimum amounts for property and medical expenses. However, a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) in 2014 shows that nearly 13 percent of all drivers on U.S. roads are not covered by liability insurance, which causes a major problem should an accident occur. An uninsured motorist accident leaves victims to pay for damages themselves, but experienced auto accident attorneys can provide some help in these unjust situations.
What Is an Uninsured Motorist Accident?
An uninsured motorist is anyone who operates a motor vehicle without the minimum liability insurance required by law. When these individuals cause accidents that result in damage to personal property and injuries, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to receive compensation.
In California, the minimum liability limits are 15/30/5, which means the insurance must cover $15,000 for injuries to a single person, $30,000 for injuries to all individuals involved in a single accident and $5,000 for property damage. However, the IRC reports that 14.7 percent of California drivers have no coverage at all.
Consequences of Uninsured Motorists
The consequences of accidents caused by uninsured motorists range from minor to severe, with the majority heavily weighted toward serious and severe. Only a select few drivers have the money or the credit to cover the total damages caused by an at-fault accident.
The IRC research from 2014 reveals that 82 percent of uninsured motorists do not have insurance because they can not afford insurance or because their vehicles are in such bad condition that they are uninsurable. This leaves victims to pay for any losses they have sustained through no fault of their own, and in 2012, the amount of damages from uninsured motorist accidents totaled $2.6 billion.
While the above figure is shocking in its own right, it does not take into account another problem with driving on California roads: underinsured drivers. Drivers are only required to carry $5,000 in coverage for personal property, but how much would it cost to replace your car if was hit and totaled in an accident? What if a driver lost control of his or her car and crashed through the side of your house into your living room? How would you be compensated for that sort of loss by a driver with only $5,000 in insurance coverage?
Protecting Yourself From Uninsured Motorists
Insurance companies saw a way to make extra money on premiums and help close the liability gap caused by uninsured and underinsured drivers by offering uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). In this way, drivers themselves can be covered for the catastrophic losses caused by irresponsible and illegal driving. However, it is the victims who are responsible for paying the premiums, and in California, the limit for uninsured motorist property damage is $3,500.
Contact an Uninsured Motorist Lawyer
While UMC and UIM can provide some help, these coverages can also create situations known as insurance bad faith. In these cases, insurance companies try to get out of paying the actual cost of damages or get out of paying any claims at all. In any uninsured or underinsured motorist accident, the most efficient and effective way to protect your rights and receive full compensation for injuries, property loss, lost wages and even pain and suffering is to contact a local attorney experienced in auto accident law, such as those at Rizio Law Firm.
If you or someone close to you has been involved in an uninsured motorist accident, the reliable attorneys at Rizio Law Firm will do everything they can within the law to help you receive the compensation you deserve. For more information, call us today at 888-292-8888, or simply fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.