How Much Can I Get From an Uninsured Motorist Claim

A car with x mark and a car with check mark with a clip board of insurance claim and a bag of money

After being involved in a car accident, you may be considering your legal options. You should not be stuck covering the costs when someone else is responsible. With help from a knowledgeable car accident attorney from The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys, you may be able to file a claim with the insurance company or bring your case to court.

If the driver that hit you is uninsured, the claims process may be more complex. Recognizing how uninsured motorist claims work and what damages they cover will be critical as we figure out our strategic approach to your case.

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Auto Insurance Coverage is Mandated Under California Law

Auto insurance coverage is required according to the California Department of Insurance. All motorists must carry a minimum of:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage – $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage – $5,000 per accident

Motorists are under no legal obligation to carry any of the following types of auto insurance coverage:

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Gap insurance
  • Glass insurance
  • Uninsured motorist coverage (UM)
  • Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM)
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Personal injury protection (PIP)

In fact, the state makes it possible for all motorists to be able to afford the mandated coverage. Drivers who qualify may be able to participate in the California Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLAC), which is available to low-income motorists.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), approximately 17% of all California drivers operate motor vehicles without insurance coverage. For this reason, it is crucial to ensure you are protected through your personal insurance coverage. This way, if you were involved in an accident with a driver who is uninsured, you do not have to worry about being stuck covering the costs alone.

The Difference Between Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims

Many people assume uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is the same. However, there are key differences between the two that could have a significant impact on your ability to recover compensation through an insurance claim. Uninsured motorist claims are filed when the driver who hit you or caused the accident does not have insurance coverage at all. When this happens, your personal auto insurance coverage pays for the injuries you sustained and damages you incurred.

Underinsured motorist claims are different. The driver that hit you may have auto insurance coverage in place, but they may not have enough to ensure you are fully compensated for your losses. When this happens, you may have the right to file a claim against your auto insurance policy to ensure you are fairly repaid for your damages.

Filing a claim against your own insurance policy could adversely impact your premiums or be held against you when you are shopping for new auto insurance coverage. For this reason, it is almost always in your best interests to review your options with your attorney before filing a UM or UIM insurance claim.

Underinsured Motorist Claims in California Cover Every Single Loss

Your uninsured motorist coverage should pay you for both economic and non-economic damages. Some examples of these losses could include:

  • Loss of income
  • Healthcare expenses
  • Personal property damages
  • Reduced earning potential
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium

You could even recover punitive damages as part of your underinsured motorist claim. However, uninsured motorist claims are different. With uninsured motorist claims, the types of damages that are covered will be determined by your personal auto insurance policy.

The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys Can Help You Maximize Your Settlement

Our legal team is here to help guide you through the claims process after being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Here is a general idea of what you can expect along the way:

We Review Your Auto Insurance Policy

We start by reviewing your auto insurance coverage. We will make sure you fully understand how much coverage you carry, whether any exclusions limit the amount of compensation you recover, and identify any conditions that could have an adverse impact on your claim.

We Open a Comprehensive Investigation

Next, we begin investigating the cause of the accident. Just because you were involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver does not mean they are responsible for causing the accident. You may only have grounds for legal action against them if they are found liable. Our team will work closely with accident reconstructionists and obtain copies of the responding officer’s police report to build a compelling case in your favor.

We Evaluate Your Damages

Your car accident attorney will need to review your damages to accurately calculate the value of your claim. We will need to take into account your current and anticipated medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, vehicle repair costs, and other economic or non-economic damages to ensure we are accounting for every loss.

We Handle the Insurance Company

You can rely on The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Sometimes, having your legal advocate show up is enough to signal to the insurance company that you mean business. We will never let the insurer trick you into accepting less than you deserve or delay the processing of your claim to protect its profit margins.

Pro Tip
If you receive a quick settlement offer from the insurance company, do not accept until you review it with your car accident lawyer. Insurers often attempt to take advantage of catastrophic injury victims by making swift offers that do not even make a dent in the true value of your claim.

We Present Your Personal Injury Lawsuit at Trial

We will prepare a powerful claim against the uninsured or underinsured driver who caused your accident. Any damages the insurance company does not cover can be demanded as part of your personal injury lawsuit. We will go before the judge and jury and present your case to prove the defendant’s liability based on a preponderance of the evidence as described by the Civil Jury Instructions Resource Center’s Civil Plain English Comparison under BAJI 2.60.

The Value of Your Uninsured Motorist Claim

When filing an uninsured motorist claim, the amount of compensation you receive will correlate with the amount of coverage you have purchased. In accidents with uninsured drivers, you will not be able to file a claim against their insurance policy, they do not have valid insurance coverage in place. If you only purchase the bare minimum amount of coverage, this is the maximum amount you could expect to recover. However, when you purchase additional coverage to protect yourself, your own insurance should protect you in the event of an accident with an uninsured motorist.

Maximum Available Compensation in Underinsured Motorist Claims

The amount of compensation you can recover from an uninsured motorist claim depends on the amount of coverage the liable party carries. If the driver that hit you only has $15,000/$30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person/per accident, this will be the maximum amount you can recover from their insurance claim.

However, you may also have the opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit against them or tap into your own auto insurance coverage to pay for specific types of damages. If the driver that hit you increased their auto insurance coverage, and they had, say, $50,000/$100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person/accident you would be able to recover up to $100,000 from their insurance provider.

How Long Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Claims Can Take

The amount of time it could take to settle your underinsured motorist claim varies widely depending on the specific circumstances of your case. If all goes well, we may be able to secure the compensation you deserve in just a couple of weeks or months. The more complicated your case is, the longer it will take to resolve. It is not uncommon for the most complex cases to take years to settle.

Understanding how the uninsured motorist claims process works can help you manage your expectations. If the liable party’s insurance coverage fully meets your needs, you may not need to go to trial. However, if there is not enough insurance coverage or the insurance company does not compensate you for the total value of your economic and non-economic damages, you might need to consider alternative options.

If your case goes to court, you can expect your settlement to take longer. We will need to investigate, collect evidence, review your damages, go through discovery, and attempt to resolve your case and mediation, all before presenting your case before a judge and jury. While you may have hoped to avoid going to trial, doing so is often one of the best ways to ensure you are maximizing your payout.

Uninsured Motorist Claim FAQ

Whether you are filing an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company or need to file a personal injury lawsuit against an uninsured motorist who caused your collision, these types of claims are often complex. We understand you may have many questions regarding how your case will unfold, factors that could impact your compensation, and how long it might take to resolve your case.

With this in mind, our car accident attorneys with The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys have created a quick FAQ below that answers some of these most pressing questions below. If you have additional questions we did not cover here, do not let that hold you back from contacting our legal team to discuss the specific details of your case during a free consultation.

How long do I have to file my uninsured motorist claim?

When filing a personal injury lawsuit against an uninsured driver, you will need to adhere to the California personal injury statute of limitations under California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1. This allows injury victims up to two years from the date of their accident to file suit. This is important. If you miss the deadline, it could be difficult or impossible to recover the compensation you are entitled to through a civil claim.

For this reason, we advise connecting with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to get started on your case. This way, you do not have to worry about something as minor as a deadline limiting your ability to maximize your settlement.

Does an uninsured motorist claim raise my rates in California?

According to California’s Proposition 103, your auto insurance rates should not increase when you file an uninsured motorist claim. Insurance providers are prohibited from dropping drivers or raising their rates for filing claims against their uninsured motorist coverage.

However, that does not mean insurance companies won’t attempt to increase your premiums or refuse to continue offering coverage. You can protect yourself by having your car accident attorney handle the insurance company and step in if you notice a rate increase after filing an uninsured motorist claim.

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage if I have a collision in California?

You should carry uninsured motorist coverage alongside comprehensive, collision, bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage, and underinsured motorist coverage. Each type of auto insurance coverage pays for certain types of damages or expenses. For example, collision will cover your vehicle repair costs when you are hit by an uninsured driver, but comprehensive will not cover any of your expenses.

Does uninsured motorist coverage pay for pain and suffering in California?

No. uninsured motorist coverage will not pay for pain and suffering in California. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) will pay for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, reduced earning potential, emotional trauma, disfigurement and skin scarring, and loss of income or wages. However, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage will typically only offer coverage for your medical expenses.

Connect With Our Dedicated Car Accident Lawyers When You Are Ready to Take Action

Uninsured motorist claims may be more complicated, but that does not mean you should not take action to demand the compensation you are entitled to. Insured or not, the at-fault party should pay. You can rely on your top-rated car accident attorney from The Text Kevin Accident Attorneys to exhaust all opportunities for financial relief so you can maximize your settlement.

Are you ready to take charge of your recovery and begin rebuilding your life? We offer 100% free consultations to injury victims and accident survivors across Irvine and throughout Orange County. Fill out our convenient contact form or call our office today to get started.

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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