An astonishing 15 percent of drivers on California roads are driving without insurance. If you are injured in an accident, there is a fair chance the other driver has no insurance at all or carries insufficient insurance to pay your medical and other bills.
So what do you do if you have $100,000 in hospital bills and no path to insurance coverage?
You have your own insurance policy, that's what. Most California policyholders opt to buy UM coverage under their auto policies — UM for uninsured and UIM for underinsured motorists. This feature allows you to request that your own insurance carrier pay damages when this kind of accident occurs.
'Deny, Delay And Diminish'
While that sounds like a simple, affordable solution, there is a catch. Your insurer, which is supposed to provide "good hands" care of its customers, may drag its feet. It will do what opposing insurance companies do — deny coverage, delay payment or diminish the amount it is willing to pay.
That's when it is to your advantage to work with an attorney who knows the law surrounding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Insurance companies are much less likely to play games when they know they are dealing with one of Northern California's most respected personal injury firms. They will pay you and move on to a customer who is less well protected.
UM coverage is good for other problems as well:
- Hit-and-run accidents. These are ugly situations where the other party does not stick around to share insurance information.
- "Phantom" highway accidents. These are situations where one driver causes an accident by suddenly switching lanes, but is unaware of doing so and speeds away.