California is a tort state, which means that the driver who is at fault for crashing into your car is responsible for paying your medical expenses if you sustain an injury in the mishap.
However, not every driver has coverage. What happens if you are the victim of a crash caused by an uninsured motorist?
Understand the tort system
Only 12 states are no-fault states, meaning that fault has no bearing on payment for damages, and drivers look to their own insurance companies for compensation following an accident. Most states, like California, operate under the tort system, but in this process, payment for damages only goes toward medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering, not for the damage done to your vehicle.
Avoid payment offered
If you are the victim of a minor accident, such as a rear-end collision, the driver who caused the crash may be uninsured and might offer you cash on the spot. The reasoning will probably be that there was only minor damage, which the money should cover, and the two of you could avoid all the insurance rigmarole. Do not allow him or her to coerce you into agreeing. There may be hidden damage, which might be very expensive to repair, and in addition, you may have injuries that might not be apparent.
Take these steps
When dealing with an uninsured driver, remember that it is important to call the police. In the meantime, do what you can to document the incident. Use your cellphone to take pictures of the crash scene, the damage to your car and the license plate of the other ca, as well as a photo of the other driver, if possible.
Reach out for help
If the driver who hit your car has no insurance, he or she will likely not be able to provide payment for your medical expenses and other costs. Compared to a normal auto accident, a different process is involved when you are dealing with an uninsured motorist. Time is of the essence in filing a claim and seeking the compensation to which you are entitled. A personal injury attorney can help.