If you have read some of my blogs or seen some of my videos, you know that I emphasize the need to have liability insurance, as well as uninsured motorist insurance. Just this week (April 22, 2013), it became clear that the failure to follow the law to have liability insurance, and the advice to add uninsured motorist coverage, can have devastating consequences.
Along the winding Ortega Highway in Riverside County, a woman driving her two children and her boyfriend were traveling along minding their own business and driving within the speed limit. All of a sudden, a car pulled from the far right shoulder to make a U-turn, crossing in front of the unsuspecting driver and her passengers. The cars smashed together, destroying both cars and seriously injuring the boyfriend and leaving all others suffering injuries from the sudden impact.
A call for legal representation went out to our office for help to recover damages for the personal injuries and property damages suffered. The questions asked were about what rights were available and whether we could do anything to help them recover from the guilty driver. One of our first questions is always going to be whether our potential client had liability and/or uninsured motorist insurance coverage. These questions are specifically important for the driver of the car, and secondarily for the passengers. Years ago, a State proposition, Proposition 213, was put to a vote of the California people. The insurance companies pushed hard to get this law passed. That proposition limited the rights of an injured party to only receive economic damages, such as medical expenses and loss of earnings, but terminated any rights to recover pain and suffering damages or what is called non-economic damages. The passengers are not subject to the same restrictions, only the driver without liability insurance.
Additionally, if the driver of the other car, who caused the accident, did not have any liability insurance coverage, then the chances of any recovery for the injuries and damages drops significantly. While you might attempt to get damages directly from the negligent driver, it is extremely difficult to make that happen and generally will not result in full compensation for the losses. The only way to avoid all these complications is to make sure you have liability insurance to avoid the impact of Proposition 213 and uninsured motorist insurance to protect yourself from those who themselves are without insurance.
Don’t let your liability and uninsured motorist insurance lapse, or drive without such insurance, because invariably an accident will occur when you can least afford to suffer the losses without insurance coverage.