When you are injured in a car accident, you will quickly begin to understand just how costly the aftermath can be. As your medical bills start piling up, you miss days from work, and your pain just doesn’t go away, you will start to realize that the accident could impact your life for years to come.
This will lead you to start thinking about compensation: Are you entitled to compensation? If so, who is liable?
A car accident attorney can pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact The Law Offices of Mickey Fine today for a free consultation.
3 Options for Who Pays Your Compensation After a Car Accident in Bakersfield
In terms of who pays your compensation after a car accident, there are three primary options. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may only be able to pursue one of these options, or you may be able to pursue all three.
You will need to work with an experienced car accident lawyer to evaluate your legal rights, and you will need to rely on your lawyer’s experience to recover the compensation you deserve.
1. Does the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Have to Pay Your Compensation?
Many people assume that the other driver’s insurance company has to pay their compensation. And, in a number of cases, they are right. If you were injured in a car accident that was the other driver’s fault, then you can file a claim under the driver’s liability insurance policy.
California law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance with policy limits of at least $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. However, many California drivers choose to purchase additional coverage. When pursuing your car accident claim, one of your lawyer’s first steps will be to determine how much liability insurance coverage is available.
In order to obtain compensation under the other driver’s insurance policy, you must be able to prove that the other driver was at fault. This means you must be able to present evidence of negligence such as:
- Talking on the phone or texting behind the wheel
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Speeding, running a red light or stop sign, or dangerously changing lanes
- Merging or turning into oncoming traffic without looking or without having the right of way
Even if it seems fairly obvious what happened, proving fault is not easy. It will be important for your lawyer to investigate as soon as possible.
2. Does Your Auto Insurance Policy Cover Your Losses from Your Car Accident?
Regardless of whether you have a claim against the at-fault driver, you may also have a claim under your own auto insurance policy. Two types of auto insurance – Med Pay and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage – provide compensation for the insured driver’s injury-related losses. So, if you have Med Pay, UIM, or both, you can seek compensation from your insurance company.
Med Pay and UIM insurance claims are very different. If you have Med Pay insurance, you are entitled to coverage regardless of fault in the accident. Med Pay will cover reasonable expenses related to medical care for the injuries you sustain.
Filing a UIM claim is more similar to filing a liability claim. You and your lawyer will need to be able to present evidence that the uninsured or underinsured driver was at fault in order to recover just compensation.
While filing a successful UIM claim is more difficult, UIM policies generally offer more coverage than Med Pay policies. Additionally, while Med Pay only covers medical expenses, UIM provides compensation for other financial costs and non-financial costs as well.
3. Is a Third Party Liable for Your Car Accident Injuries?
The third option for recovering compensation after a car accident is to file a third-party claim. This is a claim against an at-fault party other than the driver of another vehicle.
Examples of third-party claims in auto accident cases include:
- Claims against vehicle manufacturers
- Claims against vehicle dealerships and repair shops
- Claims against the employers of commercial drivers
- Claims against state and local road authorities
If you have a third-party claim, you can seek compensation under the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy. Depending on who is at fault, these insurance policies may provide large amounts of coverage. As a result, running up against the third party’s policy limit usually is not an issue.
However, third parties will often vigorously dispute claims for compensation arising out of car accidents. It is in your best interest to work with an experienced lawyer to identify all of your legal options and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
It is easy to feel overwhelmed after a car accident. You may be dealing with serious injuries, facing financial challenges, and more. At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, our team explores all of your avenues for financial recovery and builds a strong claim (or claims) against the party or parties responsible.
Please call (661) 333-3333 today for a free consultation with The Law Offices of Mickey Fine. Our car accident attorney serves clients in Bakersfield, and nearby areas of California.