You can pursue more than the defendant’s insurance policy limits from your own insurer if you chose to have uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) on your policy. The at-fault party’s insurance may be insufficient to cover your costs. In that case, your lawyer may carefully read and review your insurance policy to see if you have this added coverage and determine how you go about the legal process.
Although the California Department of Insurance (CDI) regulations do not require you to purchase UMC or UIM, they do require:
- Your insurance provider to offer it
- You to sign a waiver if you refuse it
Calculating Your Recoverable Damages After a Car Accident
California Civil Code (CIV) §1431.2 dictates that the recoverable damages you might typically expect to receive from an at-fault driver may include lost income, medical care, property damage, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma.
According to CDI guidelines, once the defendant’s insurance coverage is exhausted, your UMC and UIM coverage might be used to cover your remaining costs.
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage pays for damages for you and any passengers in your car if the at-fault driver is uninsured.
- Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage pays for the costs associated with your physical injuries if the at-fault driver was underinsured.
- Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage pays up to $3,500 to repair your damaged car if the uninsured driver can be identified.
You may not have to settle for the coverage of the defendant’s insurance policy if it falls short of paying your accident-related expenses. Your lawyer may be able to help you understand the total recoverable damages you are entitled to and at which point you can seek added protection from your own insurer.
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Get Help Tapping into These Added Financial Resources
The financial costs of a car accident can grow at an alarming rate. If the driver who caused the collision only has the minimum required insurance, and it does not cover your costs, a lawyer may take these steps on your behalf:
- Read and review the at-fault driver’s insurance policy to be sure of their maximum coverage limits
- Scrutinize your insurance policy to verify your UMBI, UIM, UMPD, or UMC coverage
- Determine the maximum coverage you might be entitled to under these added protections
Understanding how multiple insurance policies might work together can be challenging. The lawyer who represents you might be able to help you combine policies—your own and the at-fault driver’s—to maximize your potential financial recovery.
Understanding How Settlement Negotiations Work
When attempting to resolve your case with a financial settlement, your lawyer and the at-fault party or their insurance company representative might each examine the evidence and determine fault and liability.
Each side may also determine what the resulting compensation claim is worth by assigning a value to the economic and non-economic portions of your claim. Both parties may then negotiate to reach an agreed-upon settlement amount. Your legal team may present each settlement offer to you and explain its pros and cons. If an agreement cannot be reached, your case may proceed to court for a final resolution.
Documents and Evidence Each Side May Request
To prove the cost of a car accident and its financial consequences, your lawyer and the at-fault driver’s lawyer might request some or all the following documents:
- Medical records that detail your injuries
- Medical bills that demonstrate the cost of your treatments
- Insurance policies from you and the at-fault driver
- Tax and employment records to prove loss of income
- Damage bills or value estimates for your vehicle
If you are seeking additional monetary coverage from uninsured or underinsured motorist protection, your insurance company may also request the above documents. Provide them upon request, along with any other documents, photos, or other evidence that might bolster and support your potential right to financial recovery.
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You May Be Able to Optimize Your Financial Recovery
If you were injured in a car accident, you might be entitled to financial compensation if the at-fault driver was negligent. If the driver who caused the accident did not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you for your losses, you can pursue other sources for more than the defendant’s insurance policy limits. Reach out to Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices by calling (888) 522-6291 to learn more about your financial recovery options.