WHY YOU NEED UNINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE COVERAGE
Unfortunately, hit and run accidents are all too common, and they often leave innocent victims devastated. If you are injured by a hit and run driver, and did not have uninsured motorist coverage with your automobile insurance carrier, you can be left with not only the physical injuries from the accident but all of the financial hardship that follows.
Hit and Run Drivers Are Often Unidentified
It is fairly common for a hit and run driver to flee the scene of an injury accident and never be apprehended by the police. The mass media reports on these accidents with alarming frequency. The victims not only suffer the injuries from these collisions, but they may never be compensated for their losses absent uninsured motorist insurance coverage. What some people don't know is that a hit and run accident is almost always the equivalent of an uninsured motorist accident. When the driver of a vehicle causing an accident flees the scene without being identified, the law considers that driver to be "uninsured". Consequently, when you are injured in a hit and run accident, you have the right to pursue an insured motorist claim with your own automobile insurance company.
California Law Requires Uninsured Motorist Coverage Unless Waived in Writing
Under California law, every policy of automobile insurance sold in this State must include uninsured motorist coverage, unless this is expressly waived in writing. (California Insurance Code Section 11580.2 (a)(1)) When there is uninsured motorist coverage, then the victim of a hit and run accident at least has the opportunity to be compensated for their pain, suffering, lost income and medical bills. The law further requires that the uninsured motorist coverage provide at least $30,000.00 for each person injured and no less than $60,000.00 per accident, for all of those injured. (California Insurance Code Section 11580.2(m)(1)(2)) So, if a driver causes an accident and flees, the injured victim could receive at least $30,000.00 from their automobile insurance carrier. In addition, in the event of a death caused by a hit and run driver, the victim's family has these same rights to compensation.
Obviously, the uninsured motorist coverage does not just apply when the at-fault driver flees. It also, and even more commonly, applies when the driver causing the accident had no insurance coverage at the time of the collision, such as where they have let their coverage lapse. Also, if you maintain uninsured motorist coverage with a limit higher than the liability limit of the at-fault driver, then you have the right to pursue an underinsured motorist claim for the difference.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a hit and run or uninsured driver, a consultation with an experienced Orange County injury attorney is the first step toward recovering compensation for the injuries and damages suffered.