Accidents occur all the time, but when a collision occurs with an uninsured driver, recovering compensation can be complicated. There is a significant number of uninsured drivers in this area of California, but what steps can you take to recover compensation after being involved in an accident with a driver who lacks proper insurance?
Could You Use Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Every state requires a certain amount of insurance for individuals to carry if they want to remain legal on the roadway. In California, this includes bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage, but the state does not require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
If you are reading this and have not considered adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to your policy, please think about doing so. This is incredibly valuable coverage that can help pay in the event you are struck by a driver without insurance or if another driver hits you and they do not have high enough policy limits to cover your expenses.
If you do have uninsured motorist coverage and are struck by an uninsured driver, you may be able to recover compensation up to the limits of your policy.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Uninsured Driver
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, or if your uninsured motorist coverage does not pay for all of your expenses, it may be necessary to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. We do want to add a little caveat to this – drivers who do not pay for insurance may not have the assets needed to cover their expenses after a crash occurs. Even though your claim may be successful, it could still be difficult to recover the compensation through a judgment.
Filing a lawsuit means that you are going into the civil court system. You need to file your lawsuit against the at-fault driver within two years from the date the uninsured accident occurs. Failing to file before this two-year California statute of limitations timeframe expires means that you will be unable to recover any compensation for your losses, regardless of the level of severity of the incident or even if the other party was clearly at fault.
Lawsuits can be time-consuming, and the first step is the discovery process. This is where evidence will be gathered in exchanged between both sides. Often, negotiations continue during the discovery process, and a settlement could occur if the other side decides to offer a fair amount for your losses.
Working With an Attorney
We strongly encourage you to work with a skilled attorney if you decide to pursue an uninsured driver in the civil court system. An accident attorney in San Bernardino can help give you realistic expectations about the eventual outcome and help guide you towards the best path of recovering the money you need. Additionally, attorneys will have the resources to fully investigate the other party to examine whether or not they have assets worth pursuing. At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you and your family so you can make a recovery and get back to living your day-to-day life.