Nobody expects to get hurt in a car accident in Vista or elsewhere in Southern California, yet negligent motorists routinely cause serious crashes that result in significant and debilitating injuries. When someone is injured in a collision, they should be able to have the option of filing a third-party claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance or filing a first-party claim through their own insurance. As you may know, California is an at-fault state or a “tort” state when it comes to auto insurance, and motorists are required to carry liability coverage to compensate others who have been injured in collisions.
What happens when an uninsured motorist causes a car crash in Vista or in another part of San Diego County? What options does an injured party have for seeking financial compensation?
Determine if You Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If an uninsured motorist caused a collision in which you sustained injuries, you should determine immediately if you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. California auto insurance law requires insurance companies to offer this type of coverage, but motorists do not need to buy it. If a motorist opts out of paying for uninsured motorist coverage, she or he must sign a waiver indicating that the UM coverage has been declined.
If you pay for UM coverage, your injuries may be compensable through this coverage, and you should speak with your car accident lawyer as soon as possible about obtaining a reasonable settlement from the insurance company. If you do not have UM coverage, you may still have options for seeking financial compensation.
File a First-Party Insurance Claim
You can always file a first-party insurance claim through your own insurance policy, although you will need to pay your deductible up front. Furthermore, a first-party claim might not be able to provide you with the amount of compensation you need to fully cover your losses.
File a Lawsuit Against the Uninsured Motorist
There is a possibility that the uninsured motorist has the means to pay damages if you file a lawsuit against that motorist and win your case. However, many uninsured motorists do not have deep pockets and often will not be able to pay out a damages award, even if you win your case.
Work with a Lawyer to Determine if Another Party is at Fault
In some uninsured motorist accident cases, another party may be liable for your injuries and may have the means to compensate you for your losses. For example, the uninsured motorist may have been driving as part of his or her job at the time of the crash, and the employer could be liable for your injuries. Or, the collision may have occurred because of a defect in the uninsured motorist’s car, and you could file a lawsuit against the designer or manufacturer in a product liability lawsuit. You should work with a car accident attorney to understand your options under California’s auto insurance law and other relevant laws in the state.
Contact a Vista Car Accident Lawyer
Do you have questions or concerns about seeking compensation after sustaining injuries in a collision caused by an uninsured motorist? One of the Vista car accident attorneys at our firm can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist you with your claim.
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