Like many states in the U.S., California requires that anyone who owns or operates a motor vehicle must meet its minimum requirements for financial liability laws. These laws exist to help in case of accidental injury to others or damage to their property. Drivers have a responsibility to meet the limits of Bodily Damage Liability and Property Damage Liability, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000. One way to uphold this responsibility is to purchase auto insurance.
A lack or lapse of coverage for any driver in California can result in a ticket and the loss of driving privileges. The process of initially registering a vehicle in California requires either a bond or a cash deposit, complete with a self-insurance certificate to show that you actively choose to waive coverage. This can be an expensive option for most drivers and obtaining complete auto insurance is a comparatively cost-saving measure.
There is no way for the state to guarantee that each driver is insured, however, so what should you do after you’ve been in an accident with someone who is uninsured? Here are a few steps you should take.
Ensure Your Own Health and Safety after an Accident
If you or a loved one was injured during the accident, make sure that you call 911 right away and get an EMT and police officer on the scene. An officer can help document the situation and identify evidence.
After an accident, victims can sometimes find that they feel perfectly fine and report having no physical symptoms of pain. Injuries such as whiplash and concussions may not be initially obvious because your body’s high level of adrenaline from the accident can prevent you from recognizing symptoms right away. Your physician will be able to help determine the best course of action for your treatment plan.
If you are taken to a local hospital or if you elect to visit your own physician for an evaluation, be sure to make note of any medical bills or case reports about the incident. These will be necessary for your claim as well, to establish proof that you sought treatment for your injuries.
Gather Evidence from the Scene of the Incident
There are some circumstances where you will not be able to gather the evidence at the scene of the accident—for example, if you’ve sustained an injury that requires you to head straight for your nearest hospital. If this is the case, it is important to enlist someone to help you take photographs and videos to be used later as evidence. These photos and videos can also be used as proof of the date and time of the incident, so make sure you get a copy for your records.
If you are able to remain on the scene and record the situation, make sure you are including photos of the damage done to both vehicles and any collateral public property. Take note of the other vehicle’s tags and license plate number and the driver’s contact details.
If there were any witnesses present, you may want to ask them a few questions about the incident on video, if they grant you permission to do so. Some witnesses might only want to provide you with their contact information and a quote about the accident, whereas other bystanders might have more physical data about the incident, such as photo or video proof. Though most police officers do a thorough sweep of the scene to compile their own personal evidence, it is a good practice to record the aftermath yourself.
Involve Your Insurance Agent
After the accident, it is important to set time aside to call your car insurance provider and speak to them about whether or not you have uninsured motorist coverage, which helps to pay for any damage caused by the uninsured driver. Each policy on uninsured motorist coverage is different, so your agent will be able to let you know the details of yours.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage can help pay for any of the physical injuries that you or your passengers sustained as a result of the accident. If the main damage occurred to your vehicle, uninsured motorist property damage can pay drivers a maximum of $3,500 to help cover vehicle damage. Your insurance agent will be able to help you determine what exactly is covered and not covered by your policy so you can make a more informed decision about the incident and how to proceed.
Find an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Your next step will be contacting an experienced attorney. They can help you determine whether the other driver is responsible for paying punitive damages, and they will help you find a way to arrange those payments. Most courts insist on using payment plans in installments, which is not ideal for many.
An experienced attorney will also let you know that you have the option to sue the uninsured driver if you are looking for a financial settlement for damages done to you or your car.
Enlist Adamson Ahdoot for Your California Car Accident Case
Do you need experienced attorneys to help you win your case against an uninsured driver? Have you suffered as a result of a recent accident and are now looking for the next step? Look no further than the offices of Adamson Ahdoot. We are an experienced law team dedicated to helping you get the compensation you deserve.
Our California-based boutique firm has over 100 years of combined experience. If you want to learn more about how we can help you, call 877-871-3265 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free consultation today. Why wait? Get the justice that you deserve.