What to Do When Your Car Gets Hit by an Uninsured Driver in Los Angeles
Don’t worry about it too much. Or at least that’s what you can do if your auto insurance policy includes financial protection against uninsured motorists. In that case, your insurer will provide a settlement check even if the driver at fault for the collision, doesn’t have car insurance, or doesn’t have enough auto coverage to pay for all your repairs.
The bigger problem is if the accident is caused by a driver without auto insurance in L.A. and you don’t have a policy that includes uninsured motorist protection. Here’s what we recommend you do in such a dicey situation.
Know the Law Regarding Fault and Uninsured Motorists
Like most U.S. states, California has at-fault car insurance laws. What that means is that the driver at fault for the accident, or the insurance company representing that driver, is responsible for the damages they caused other parties.
Simple, right? Unless the party at fault is an uninsured driver or underinsured (meaning they might have some car insurance but not enough to pay for the accident). Or it’s a case of a hit-and-run driver, and there’s no one to even try to collect from. Now what do you do?
Emotions can get out of hand immediately after an accident involving two or more cars. Everyone might try to blame everyone else. If it was road rage that led to the accident, that’s even more cause for concern.
If the driver at fault pulls over to the side of the road and appears to be calm, politely meet up with them and exchange contact information that you’ll then turn over to the proper authorities.
Call the Police … Maybe
In cities and towns smaller than Los Angeles, the after-accident process might always involve calling the police. An officer might show up in a matter of minutes, question both drivers, and almost immediately be able to assign blame. In that scenario, you and the insurance companies will get a police report that shows the other driver to be at fault.
Things are a bit different in traffic-clogged Los Angeles. Here, you’ll only call the police if all else fails.
Don’t dial 911 unless you or others are injured, you feel threatened by the other driver or they seem impaired, or you think you or others might be at additional risk because one or more disabled vehicles pose a traffic risk.
Otherwise, here’s the process and contact information to be used in a variety of scenarios. Most don’t include filing a police report before reaching out to your insurance company in the event of an L.A. accident.
Unfortunately, if the at-fault motorist is an uninsured driver or it’s a hit-and-run situation, your insurance company might not be able to offer much help unless you have coverage to handle such circumstances.
Be forewarned, California is ranked sixth among states when it comes to uninsured motorists, with 16.6 percent of its drivers being uninsured. That’s about one out of every six drivers on the congested highways and byways of La-La Land. As a result, it’s not all that unlikely that such an accident will occur at some point to you or a family member.
Consider Hiring an Attorney
According to California law, if at-fault drivers don’t have car insurance, they must pay for damage to the cars and personal property of others out of their own pockets.
It’s highly possible, though, that this outcome won’t be the case, especially if the at-fault driver could not afford auto insurance. Mostly likely, this person won’t be able to pay for the damages either.
There are lawyers who specialize in helping victims like you. They’ll do all they can to chase down the other driver and get them to pay up. But you might have heard the expression about squeezing blood from a rock. What it means is that you might win your case in every court in California, but if the at-fault driver has no money, there’s no money. Period.
Your lawyer, on the other hand, will insist on being paid for every hour consumed in the hunt for damages payment. That’s fair, but costly. Over time, you might easily pay more for legal services than your own car repair bill.
Bottom line: if you think the other driver can afford to assume financial responsibility (for instance, he owns a Porsche), and you think recovery can be quick and easy, it might be worthwhile to hire a lawyer. Otherwise … maybe not.
Take Proactive Action and Upgrade Your Car Insurance Now
There’s only one flawless solution. That’s to have a policy that offers protection against uninsured drivers before the crash.
It’s easy and not very expensive to upgrade to a policy with this benefit if it’s not already in place.
If you’re not sure what your benefits include, call an independent insurance broker and have them review your policy with you.
You’d be surprised how affordable it is to buy or upgrade to cheap coverage that will offer protection for accidents caused by hit-and-run or uninsured drivers.
The reason it’s so important to consult on this topic with an independent agent is because they represent multiple major carriers, not just one. In that way, you can get the most affordable coverage at rates you can afford.
Get the Best Car Insurance in Los Angeles Today
Your first step to avoiding the outrageous cost of colliding with an at-fault uninsured driver is to contact Cost-U-Less before you start driving at all. Call us at (800) 390-4071. Or get a quick quote online for cheap car insurance with uninsured motorist benefits. You can also meet an independent agent at a location near you.