California is a fault-based accident state, meaning that negligent drivers are financially responsible for paying their victims’ damages. Typically, victims can recover compensation for their losses by filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. However, not all motorists comply with California’s insurance laws—and if you have been hit by an uninsured driver in San Francisco, you may wonder what to do next. The following steps can help you protect yourself and your interests as you begin to navigate the accident’s aftermath.
One of the most important steps that you can take to protect yourself after a collision with an uninsured motorist is to obtain uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. Purchasing this optional coverage before an accident occurs can help protect your right to compensation, even if a driver does not have insurance or the financial means to pay for a lawsuit settlement out of pocket.
California requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, which pays for victims’ medical expenses, property damage, and other losses following a collision. UM/UIM coverage is an optional policy that pays for your damages after an accident with an uninsured driver. To protect yourself on the road, make sure to purchase UM/UIM insurance in advance.
If you do not have UM/UIM coverage, you can still file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, not all uninsured drivers have the money to pay for a car accident settlement on their own. To protect your interests, it is important to hold UM/UIM insurance.
After the accident occurs, one of the first steps you should take is to call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement. Although the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you will still need to prove that he or she caused the accident. The police report will detail key information about your case and include the officer’s insight on how the accident occurred, which will be important evidence in your claim.
Even if you do not feel injured after your accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Not only will your medical records serve as valuable pieces of evidence in your claim, but you may have underlying or internal injuries that you are not aware of. Seeking medical attention can help you receive the care you need before your injuries worsen. When receiving treatment, save all documents related to your injuries and medical care.
If you are able to move around the accident site without further injury or danger, document evidence. Take as many photographs as possible of your injuries, vehicle damage, the other driver’s car, and any debris, skid marks, and traffic signs or signals around the area. If there are any witnesses who saw the accident, collect their contact information for use in your future case. Briefly exchange contact information with the at-fault driver.
After you seek medical attention for your injuries, consult with a San Francisco car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can evaluate your claim and identify your optimal pathways to compensation, even if you do not hold UM/UIM coverage. Speak to a lawyer soon after your collision to discuss your case and strategize your next steps.