Why You Need Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
15.2 percent of California drivers have no insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. While these drivers are behind the wheel illegally, even more drivers have the bare minimum of insurance coverage, which is very low. In California, the minimum bodily injury liability is just $15,000 for the death or injury of one person, and up to $30,000 if two or more people are injured or killed. This means that if a careless driver causes a rollover collision on the highway, resulting in a disabling injury or even paralysis for the victim, the maximum that the negligent driver’s insurance company will pay out is $15,000. In some cases, plaintiffs sue the insurance company for more, or even sue the driver personally, but this is rare, and often unsuccessful.
How Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Works
An uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) policy ensures that even if you get hit by a negligent driver who does not have insurance, or whose policy is too small to cover all of your damages, you are not left high and dry. In such a case, you would first pursue compensation from the negligent party. Once their insurance policy is extinguished, you file a claim with your own insurance company. You can be compensated for all of the damages you would normally be able to sue the other party for, including the following:
- Medical expenses;
- Future medical expenses;
- Lost wages and lost earning ability due to disability;
- Pain and suffering;
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement;
- Emotional distress;
- Property damage; and
If the collision resulted in the death of your loved one, you can be compensated for the following:
- Medical expenses of your loved one;
- Pain and suffering of your loved one;
- Loss of joy of life;
- Loss of consortium;
- Lost earnings of your loved one;
- Property damage;
- Funeral and burial expenses; and
UM Coverage Applies to Cyclists and Pedestrians As Well
Another great thing about uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is that it applies even if you are not the occupant of a vehicle. For example, if you are walking on the sidewalk and hit by a drunk driver, or riding your bike and struck by a texting driver, you can pursue compensation from your UM policy if it is proven that the other driver caused the incident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Policies Only Kick in if The Other Driver Caused the Crash
Just like your ability to sue the other driver’s insurance company for damages, you can only be compensated from your own UM policy if the other driver caused the crash. As such, you may run into liability disputes with your own insurance company, which may seek to get out of their obligation to pay for your damages.
Reach Out to a San Jose UM Insurance Attorney Today
Whether you were injured in a traffic collision or you simply have questions about uninsured or underinsured coverage and how it might apply to you or a loved one, an experienced San Jose attorney can help answer your questions. Contact our San Jose personal injury attorneys at the Solution Now Law Firm at 408-256-2871 today to schedule a free case evaluation.