Due to the number of people on the road, car crashes are a regular occurrence in California. If you were injured in a collision caused by someone else’s negligence, you probably have unexpected medical bills. You might be concerned about how to cover the costs of the crash. When someone negligently causes a crash in California that results in an injury, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance to recover compensation. Unfortunately, an insurance company is only going to pay compensation up to the insured’s policy limits. Don’t worry if your claim exceeds the at-fault driver’s insurance limits. You have options, such as:
- If you have personal injury protection insurance or underinsured motorist coverage, go through your insurance for compensation.
- Filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to hold them personally accountable for the compensation that exceeds their insurance policy limits.
California Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
In California, everyone who holds a California driver’s license and drives a private passenger vehicle is required to carry liability insurance. The minimum amount of liability insurance required for California licensed drivers is:
- $15,000 for injury or death of one person
- $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person
- $5,000 for property damage
The cost of medical treatment and repair or replacement of a vehicle can easily surpass these minimum liability requirements. As a result, you may choose to add specific protections to your insurance policy, such as medical payments (med pay) coverage, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California
In California, insurance companies offering policies to California drivers are required to offer UIM and UM coverage. However, a driver can decline this coverage. The purpose of underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is to protect someone injured in a collision caused by someone who was either uninsured or had low minimums that do not cover the losses sustained by the innocent party.
If you have UIM coverage on your insurance policy, and your claim exceeds the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, your UIM coverage will cover the excess compensation up to your UIM policy limits. For example, assume the following facts:
- You have a $50,000 bodily injury claim against an at-fault driver.
- The at-fault driver has a minimum of $10,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person.
- You have $50,000 in UIM coverage.
In this scenario, you can recover $10,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurance. Then your insurance should cover the remaining $40,000 of compensation.
Medical Payments Coverage in California
In California, most insurance companies offer medical payments coverage, similar to personal injury protection coverage, because it covers medical expenses for their insured even if they were not at fault for the accident that injured them. Like UIM and UM, med pay can be declined by the insured. If your claim exceeds the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage and you have med pay in your car insurance plan, you can seek the medical expenses not covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance from your insurance company under your med pay policy up to your med pay policy limits.
Recoverable Compensation in Car Accident Cases
If you were injured in a collision because of another person’s wrongdoing, you could be entitled to the following compensation:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Physical therapy expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Cost to repair or replace your vehicle and other personal property
What to Do When Your Claim Exceeds Insurance Limits
If your car accident claim exceeds the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, you have several options to recover the rest of the compensation you deserve, including:
- Filing a claim with your car insurance company if you have med pay or UIM coverage.
- Filing a claim with your health insurance company for the medical expenses not covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or drivers to hold them personally responsible for the excess compensation.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you were injured in a collision that wasn’t your fault and the compensation you seek exceeds the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, contact one of the experienced San Diego personal injury lawyers of Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers. Having an attorney on your side can make a difference in your compensation. We are ready to review your case and fight for you to receive maximum compensation. Call us today at (619) 233-5020 to discuss your legal options during a free case evaluation. You can also reach us by filling out our online form.