In California, motorcyclists are required by law to have at least minimum insurance coverage to legally ride the roads. In fact, auto insurance is required for all cars on California roads. This insurance is meant to protect drivers in case of an accident.
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible to claim compensation from the responsible party. However, if your damages and injuries exceed the at-fault party’s liability coverage you may not receive the maximum compensation you need and deserve. These instances are where having uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) comes handy.
In this article, we will discuss:
- What is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?
- The risks and losses in accidents with an uninsured or underinsured motorist
- How to protect yourself
- What can an attorney do for you?
What is Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage safeguards you if you are hit by a driver who has no auto insurance or if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident. While underinsured motorist coverage offers you extra protection in the case that a negligent driver has insufficient coverage to cover any injuries they caused.
To better understand these coverage types let us look at some examples:
A motorcyclist is on the road when a distracted driver runs a red light and crashes into them. In this case, the motorcyclist would be eligible to file a claim against the driver for any injuries and damages they have sustained. However, if the car driver’s insurance policy has expired, the injured motorcyclist may not receive the compensation they need to cover their medical expenses. In this case, the motorcyclist would need to have uninsured motorist coverage to cover their medical costs.
Whereas, if the at-fault party was an underinsured driver, meaning they have auto insurance coverage, but the limits of coverage for their policy are not enough to compensate the victim for their injuries, the motorcyclist may use their underinsured motorist coverage to finance the remaining medical expenses.
Note that UM and UIM coverage is something a driver must have BEFORE any accident happens.
Injured from a motorcycle accident?
Risks and Losses in Accidents With an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist
Although UM and UIM are optional, and not required by the state of California for motorcyclists, it is recommended that motorists avail of this additional coverage.
If a motorcyclist with no UM/UIM coverage is involved in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver, they will have to rely on other coverage they may have purchased. Collision coverage, for example, may cover the property damage to your motorcycle. On the other hand, personal injury protection may be used to cover the injuries sustained due to the accident.
However, if you have not availed of this separate coverage, your medical payments and property damage may become out-of-pocket expenses. This is why it is essential to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
How to Protect Yourself
As the victim of an accident, how do you protect yourself? If you sustained injuries, call 911 and seek medical care immediately. If you are not transported from the accident scene by an ambulance, do not leave the scene until the police have arrived and ensure that a police officer has conducted a police report. A police report may help in providing evidence should you choose to file a personal injury claim.
Next, document as much information as you can about the accident. Take pictures or videos of the vehicle damage and your injuries. Gather information from the other driver, such as their name, license, contact information, and their insurance company information if possible.
Lastly, seek the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
Why Should You Avail of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
As we’ve discussed, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) can provide important protection in case you are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who does not have enough auto liability insurance to cover the damages or, worse, no auto insurance policy at all.
Here are some reasons why you should consider availing of UM/UIM coverage:
1. Protection against uninsured drivers
If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, you may have difficulty recovering the damages. With UM coverage, your own insurance company will step in to cover your losses up to the policy limits.
2. Protection against underinsured drivers
Even if the other driver has insurance, it may not be enough to cover all the damages. In this case, UIM coverage can provide additional protection beyond what the other driver’s insurance covers.
3. Peace of mind
Knowing that you have uninsured and underinsured coverage can give you peace of mind on the road. Accidents can happen to anyone, and having the right level of coverage can help ensure that you are not left with significant additional expenses.
4. Affordable coverage
UM/UIM coverage is typically affordable, especially compared to other types of insurance coverage. This means you can get important protection without breaking the bank.
Even though uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in California is not mandatory, it is still a good idea to purchase this type of coverage.
What Can An Attorney Do For You?
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of an at-fault driver, you may be eligible to file a motorcycle accident claim recover compensation for your accident injuries and property damage. If you wish to file a claim, there are several ways in which a motorcycle accident attorney can help you:
1. Provide Legal Advice
A lawyer can explain your legal rights and options. They can also help you understand the legal process, including what to expect from insurance companies and the other driver’s legal team. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will also help you navigate the process of filing an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim.
2. Investigate the Accident
A personal injury lawyer can investigate the accident to determine who was at fault. They can gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work with accident reconstruction experts to build a strong case on your behalf.
3. Negotiate With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies often try to settle motorcycle accident claims for as little as possible. A personal injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your damages, including medical care, lost wages, cost of repairs, and pain and suffering.
4. Represent You In Court
If your motorcycle accident lawsuit goes to court, your experienced personal injury lawyer can represent you in front of a judge and jury. They can argue your case, present evidence to prove your case, and aggressively fight to win you the justice you deserve.
5. Recover the Financial Compensation You Deserve
By hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer, you increase your chances of receiving the financial compensation you deserve. Your lawyer can fight for your rights and ensure that you are not left with significant financial burdens as a result of the accident.
Get the Help You Need With Motorcyclist Attorney!
The importance and advantages that uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage offers motorcyclists is invaluable. As mentioned, UM/UIM coverage can help victims of motorcycle accidents recover compensation if the party at fault has no insurance coverage, is a hit-and-run driver, or does not have enough coverage to compensate the victim for their injuries and damages.
As a motorcyclist, it is imperative that you are protected at all times, not only through protective gear such as helmets and proper riding attire but through your insurance as well. However, if you find yourself the victim of a motorcycle accident, you should not hesitate to seek medical attention and the legal services of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer immediately.
At Motorcyclist Attorney, we have years of experience helping victims of motorcycle accidents recover the maximum compensation they deserve. We have also helped guide them through the process of filing an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim. Do not hesitate to contact us at (844) 284 9437 for a free case consultation, we are here to fight for you. We work on a contingency fee basis, this means you won’t need to pay us a single cent unless we win! We speak English, Spanish, and Filipino.
Contact us today and find out how we can help you!