Why You Need an Attorney for Your Car Accident Claim
California law requires every driver to carry liability insurance (or proof of financial responsibility) to pay for any damages the driver may cause in a car crash. The minimum amount of insurance required by law is 15/30/5 – $15,000 for an injury or death to one person, $30,000 to cover injury or death to more than one person, and $5,000 for property damage. In any kind of serious accident, your damages are likely to far exceed these minimum amounts. Some drivers carry more than the minimum amounts of coverage to avoid being held personally liable for the damages which exceed the policy limits. Also, it is sometimes possible to hold the insurance company liable for more than the policy limits, such as when the insurer refuses to accept a reasonable settlement offer and then loses at trial, exposing the policyholder to personal liability.
Even though the minimum liability insurance required by law is very low, many drivers take a gamble and don’t carry any liability insurance at all. In California, where even a minimum liability insurance policy is expensive, around 17% of drivers are not covered. In Los Angeles, this figure is even higher, and over 20% of drivers are uninsured. That means that more than one in every five cars on the road in L.A. right now are not insured in the case of vehicle collision.
We urge all drivers to carry not only adequate liability insurance, but also to carry the same amounts in Uninsured Motorist/Uninsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage as well. UM/UIM protects you in the event that you are struck by an uninsured driver, or a driver who only carries the minimum amounts but causes serious injury and property damage. UM/UIM is a promise by your own insurance company to cover your losses in these cases, up to the UM/UIM limits you are carrying. UM/UIM is relatively inexpensive to add to your policy, especially compared to the benefit you can get from it and the risk that you will be hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
In most cases, your dealings are with an insurance company, whether it is the other driver’s or your own. Insurance adjustors and insurance company lawyers deal with claims like yours every day – that is their job. Unless you yourself are represented by a knowledgeable and experienced automobile accident attorney, you are very likely to get taken advantage of in the process. Insurance companies almost never make an initial offer which fully compensates you for your injuries, especially if you are not represented by a lawyer. Their hope is that you will accept a quick cash settlement, releasing them and their insured from any further liability. And if you are making a UM/UIM claim against your own insurance company, don’t make the mistake of thinking they are on your side and looking out for your best interests. It is easy to see that your interests and your insurer’s interests are adverse in these situations.
Holding All Responsible Parties Accountable for Your Injuries
Not every case involves just the other driver’s negligence or reckless driving. There may be an automotive defect which caused or contributed to the accident, such as a manufacturing defect which caused the tires, brakes, or airbags to fail, or a design defect which caused the car to rollover or explode on impact. Automotive defects are often responsible for the most serious accidents. Roadways themselves may also be defectively designed, defectively built, or not posted with the proper signage to avoid an accident.
At Pisegna & Zimmerman, we carefully investigate every accident to determine its cause and identify all of the at-fault parties who bear responsibility for causing or contributing to the accident. Our goal is to help you get the maximum amount of compensation that can assist you in recovering from your injuries and providing for you and your family in this difficult time. If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Southern California, contact Pisegna & Zimmerman for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we recover for you.