BY DALE GRIBOW
Being an accident victim does not mean you hit the lottery. As a matter of fact these “soft tissue accident cases” have substantially decreased in value over time. Unless you have more than a simple whiplash with only 2-3 months of treatment, many lawyers will not take the case.
You must see a doctor or go to the ER right after the accident because time matters.
If you do not do so and later realize you have an injury the insurance company will ask “how do we know it is from this accident”…and then refuse to pay.
If you cause a serious crash your auto insurance company will not cancel you immediately and at worst must wait for the expiration date.
If your friend borrows your car it is not their insurance that kicks in. Remember, insurance always follows the car.
However, if their auto insurance or that at fault driver’s policy is minimal, than your insurance can kick in under the under-insured auto portion of your policy.
If damages to the not at-fault driver are valued at more than $15,000, the at-fault driver (not owner) is still responsible for the additional amount. The innocent driver can decide not to accept the money and to sue, attach wages and assets, and s/he can renew the judgment every 10 years. Bankruptcy is the only answer.
Protect yourself by purchasing Uninsured Motorist (UM) /Under Insured Motorist (UIM) coverage. Because of all the uninsured cars in the CV you must have this coverage. The UIM kicks in when the at-fault driver has inadequate insurance. For example, if the at-fault driver has a $15,000 policy and your injuries are worth $100,000, you would collect their $15,000 and then $85k from your carrier.
You do not have to buy a million dollar policy to have that coverage. Many insurance companies will allow you to purchase an Umbrella policy after you have a certain amount of coverage i.e. $250k. The umbrella policies are very inexpensive and I purchased a $3M policy for a few hundred dollars. The trick is to find out what limits your insurance company requires that allows you to purchase an UMBRELLA policy
Many believe that with NO insurance they can still collect from the at fault driver who rear ended them causing major injuries. Under case law if you are NOT insured you can’t collect for anything other than the cost of medicals…….and not pain and suffering.
Many clients do not realize that it does make a difference how many traffic tickets you have had. Not only will it affect your insurance rates but California’s DMV can suspend your license based on your record. Here is their criteria:
- 4 Points allowed in a 1 year period
- 6 Points allowed in a 2 year period
- 8 Points allowed in a 3 year period
- An accident equals 2 points against the at fault driver.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE, CALL A TAXI OR UBER………IT IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN HAVING AN ARREST OR ACCIDENT AND CALLING ME ………SO DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER
“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life (DUI/ACCIDENT)2011-2017 (California’s Prestige Magazine)
“TOP LAWYER”- Inland Empire Magazine Nov 2016
Perfect 10.0 AVVO Peer Rating