Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

When one party in an accident is uninsured

In the ideal world, drivers all have car insurance and no one drives stolen cars or on a revoked or suspended license. Unfortunately, no one lives in a perfect world and Californians are no exception. USA Today notes that nationwide, one in eight drivers have no insurance. This may result from either lapsing on insurance payments or never buying insurance because they do not own a car.

The general expectation is that the uninsured motorist caused the accident, but this is not always the case. Luckily, in California, uninsured drivers may recoup damages for medical bills, car repairs and other accident-related costs. However, they are not able to seek damages for pain and suffering, while insured motorists usually can.

For insured drivers, particularly when they are not at fault, an accident involving an uninsured motorist is their worst nightmare. If the motorist does not pay for damages, who will? Drivers may protect themselves by including underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage in their insurance policy. If this is not included in the insurance policy, and even when it is, insured drivers may consider pursuing legal action to recover damages.

Many drivers may balk at the idea of paying a higher insurance premium to cover for uninsured drivers on the road. However, NerdWallet notes that this addition does not cost a lot of money. If drivers still refuse to include this in their coverage, their health insurance may chip in to help cover medical bills. Collision coverage may also chip in for damage caused to the vehicle.

In some states, uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory. California, like most states, makes it optional if available. Even so, drivers may want to consider adding this to their policy just in case.

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