Personal Injury Attorney Don Sjaarda on Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Hit and Run Coverage: Get As Much As You Can Afford!

Imagine you are driving on the 405 freeway and a person in the next lane sideswipes your car, pushes you into the raised barrier and then takes off. A hit and run.

Your car is not drivable and you are not able to get the license number of his truck.

You are hurt and are taken away by ambulance to the Emergency Room where you are admitted to the hospital with serious injuries.

Will your auto insurance cover your injuries?

It will if you have uninsured-motorist coverage and if you meet the following requirements per 11580.2 of the Insurance Code:

  1. Your injuries must have been caused by physical contact with your vehicle;
  2. The accident must be reported within 24 hours to a local law enforcement agency;
  3. You or your legal representative must file a statement under oath with your insurance company within 30 days after the accident stating you have a claim against the unidentified person.

What if there was no contact between the truck and your car?

No coverage.

What if the accident was not reported to law enforcement within 24 hours?

No coverage.

What if you fail to file a statement under oath within 30 days?

No coverage.

Let’s change it up a little. How about if in the same scenario a water heater falls off of the truck and strikes your car, causing you to lose control of your car and crash into the raised barrier?

Will your auto insurance policy cover your injuries?

It will if the water heater was still moving before the impact with your car. But it will not be covered if the water heater came to a stop on the freeway before you hit it.

Why is this the law?

In 1961 Insurance Code Section 11580.2 was changed to limit insurance coverage to prevent fraud and collusion and to avoid payment where the insured person caused the accident.

It would be easy to blame a phantom vehicle anytime you lose control of your car and become injured. These rules apply even if you have an eyewitness who will testify that the unidentified vehicle caused the crash. No exceptions.

Assuming you meet these requirements, what can you collect from your uninsured-motorist coverage?

Essentially the same damages you could recover from the responsible party, up to your policy limits:

Subject to proof:

  1. Economic damages (past and future medical expenses, loss of earnings, and other out of pocket losses).
  2. Non-economic damages for your pain, suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, grief, anxiety and humiliation.

Do you need uninsured-motorist insurance if you already have health insurance?

Yes, if you want to be able to collect anything beyond your medical expenses.

If you have further questions about this complex area of the law and what you are covered for under Uninsured Motorist Insurance please give Don a call.

Don Sjaarda
Tel: (714) 963-8216
Fax: (714) 964-5597
Centennial Plaza 18837 Brookhurst Street Suite 107
Fountain Valley, CA 92708-7301