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California state law requires that all motorists have insurance for their vehicles, with the purpose of protecting innocent people from third party vehicles who are at fault in an accident. However, there are still a lot of uninsured or underinsured motor vehicles out there, potentially posing a risk to everyone else.
Also, people who cause accidents often drive off to avoid getting held responsible for their conduct. Getting into a potentially serious accident and then having to deal with a hit and run driver could be a challenging situation. If you have Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) under your insurance policy, however, you should be able to successfully recover from your own insurance company without your rates increasing.
When an accident happens, most insurance companies may attempt to contest your claim, and will hire a defense attorney to help protect their interests. To succeed, you will need an accident lawyer to help you establish and fulfill any legal requirements to recover from your harms and losses. This is where DB Hill can step in and come to your aid. If you have had an accident with a hit and run driver or with an uninsured/underinsured motorist, let us help you get a full and fair recovery from your insurance company.
What is uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage?
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage is an insurance coverage that applies in situations where an accident has been caused by the other driver and they do not have any insurance or they have insufficient insurance to cover the situation. Unless you explicitly waive this in writing, your motor vehicle insurance should come with UM/UIM coverage by default.
When can you claim uninsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured Motorist is generally available for every policy holder who gets hit by an uninsured motorist. You do not have to be driving a car at the time of the accident, as coverage would extend to include even pedestrians.
You must generally be one of the following:
1. The holder of a UM/UIM policy;
2. A close family member who lives with the holder of a UM/UIM policy;
3. A person authorized to drive the vehicle covered under the insured UM/UIM policy, and who was driving it at the time of the accident; or
4. Any passengers within the insured vehicle at the time of the accident.
Unfortunately, when accidents do happen recovering under your UM/UIM coverage tends to be far from straightforward. Therefore if you do have an auto accident and are seeking UM coverage, you may need to hire an accident lawyer.
At DB Hill, the first thing we will do on your behalf is to establish the culpability of the other driver, by proving the four essential elements:
1. An existing duty of care.
2. A breach of said duty of care.
3. Damages to your person and/or property.
4. Evidence that the damages were a result of the accident.
We will then establish the fact that the other driver was uninsured. At this point, we will initiate a lawsuit on your behalf against the negligent driver. This step is extremely important as it will help to establish whether or not the other driver does have insurance coverage or not. If this step is skipped and it subsequently comes to light that the driver did have insurance coverage, then your claim for UM coverage will fail.
In cases involving a hit and run driver specifically, you will need to take these additional steps to safeguard your claim:
1. Prove that there was physical contact between the negligent driver’s vehicle and yourself, or your vehicle;
2. Report the incident to law enforcement officers within 24 hours of its occurrence; and
3. Notify your insurance company of the accident within 30 days.
In the State of California, you will be statute-barred from seeking compensation if you fail to sue with a two-year period from the date of the accident. This means you should speak with an accident attorney as soon as possible, to get the process started.
At DB Hill, we focus our practice on handling personal injury incidents, and you can trust us to get the appropriate amount of recovery you deserve.
DB Hill, A Professional Law Corporation is a boutique-style law firm in Lincoln, CA, providing personalized legal counsel to clients throughout CA and the West Coast.
We pride ourselves on treating our clients with care, and going above and beyond for them. With DB Hill, you will not feel like just another number.
We always begin with a free consultation, allowing us to become acquainted with you and your unique case. This gives us the opportunity to tailor our approach according to the specifics of your case and to the outcome you want. No details of your case will go overlooked.