I've been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver in Bakersfield, CA. What should I do now?
I was driving down Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield, California last Saturday evening, when I was hit by a car that ran a red light. The driver later admitted to me that they didn't have any car insurance. My vehicle suffered significant damage, and the repair costs could be in the thousands. Furthermore, I'm experiencing some neck pain and would like to see a doctor, but I'm worried about the medical bills. I've never been in this situation before and I'm unsure about my rights and the steps I need to take. I'm looking for a local lawyer who specializes in auto accidents to guide me through this process.
How can I compare lawyers in my area to find the best one for my case? What are the average fees for such services, and is there a way to get financial assistance if I can't afford them?
Uninsured Motorist Claims in California
If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver in California, it's vital to understand your rights and potential sources of compensation.
Relevant California Laws:
California Vehicle Code Section 16025: This law requires all drivers involved in an accident to exchange insurance information. If one of the parties does not have insurance, they must still provide their driver's license and vehicle registration information.
California Insurance Code Section 11580.2: Mandates that all auto insurance policies issued in California include uninsured motorist coverage unless explicitly declined by the policyholder.
Homepage of the California Department of Insurance: https://www.insurance.ca.gov/
- Your Own Insurance: Your first option is to file a claim under your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, if you have it. This is a part of most auto insurance policies in California unless you've opted out.
- Personal Injury Lawsuit: If your UM coverage isn't sufficient, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, collecting damages might be challenging if they lack insurance and financial resources.
- Medical Payments Coverage: This can help with medical bills regardless of who was at fault.
- Legal Assistance: Reach out to a personal injury lawyer or auto accident attorney in Bakersfield to assist you with your claim. You can compare lawyers in your area and find the right lawyer for your case.
Average Legal Fees in Bakersfield
|Initial Consultation||$200 - $300|
|Representation in UM claim||25-30% of settlement|
|Representation in personal injury lawsuit||30-40% of settlement|
|Medical Payments Coverage claim||20-25% of settlement|
Note: Many personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win the case or secure a settlement.
More Information Needed
To provide more precise guidance, it would help to have further information.
- Have you reported the accident to your insurance company?
- Did you obtain a police report from the accident scene?
- Were there any witnesses?
Frequently Asked Questions in Bakersfield:
Q1: Do I have to file a police report if I'm in an accident in Bakersfield?
In California, if there are injuries or the damage to vehicles/property exceeds $1,000, it's a requirement to report the accident to the police and the DMV.
Q2: If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, do I still have to pay my deductible?
Typically, if you make a claim under your UM coverage, you will have to pay your deductible. However, you can later recover it if you sue the at-fault driver.
Q3: How long do I have to file a lawsuit after an accident in California?
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in California is two years from the date of the injury.
Q4: Can I still get compensation if the accident was partly my fault?
California follows a "comparative negligence" rule, which means you can get compensation even if you were partially at fault, but your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Q5: What if I don’t have uninsured motorist coverage?
If you don’t have UM coverage, your options may be limited. It's best to consult with a lawyer to discuss potential avenues for compensation.
DisclaimerThis content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.
When should you seek a personal injury lawyer? Car accident attorney will be needed in the event of traffic accidents that lead to serious injuries or long-term medical treatment of those involved. Choosing an experienced attorney will help increase the chances that you get the compensation that you deserve. By hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you immediately after a car accident, you will have a professional working for you – one who is very knowledgeable about the specific field of law and procedural rules that may significantly affect your case.
An indicator of the skills of a particular injury lawyer is the fact how many lawsuits he/she has won as well as careful pre-court preparation and possibly also the process of negotiation with the counterparty. In the case of car accidents where there are problems related to limits for car insurance, lawyers may threaten to file a suit. However, in most cases, an out-of-court settlement can be reached between the parties. Why should you hire a car accident attorney? Underestimating such a decision may result in considerable financial loss, especially in the event that you or the other party (the participant of the accident) have inadequate insurance coverage and the insurance company thus does not pay the claim.