In California, all drivers must carry a certain minimum liability coverage for vehicles. If a motorist causes an accident, this insurance helps cover property damage and the medical expenses of injured parties.
Unfortunately, many Californians either do not have car insurance or carry a limited policy. That can create complications for injured drivers who need compensation for medical treatment after a collision.
Additional policy options
While not legally required, there are several additional types of coverage available to protect against collision-related medical expenses:
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI): covers driver and passenger injuries when the at-fault motorist has no insurance
- Underinsured motorist (UIM): provides limited payment for driver and passenger injuries when the at-fault motorist’s coverage is insufficient
- Medical Payments Coverage: pays for driver and passenger medical expenses regardless of who was at fault
California requires that insurance providers offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Drivers who do not want to purchase this additional coverage must sign a waiver confirming that the insurer provided them the option and they declined it.
Additional sources of compensation
Drivers who do not have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may have to rely on their own health insurance to pay for medical costs. An injured driver or passenger may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, if the at-fault driver lacks insurance, he or she may also lack the means to pay the compensation needed.
Unfortunately, even with strong UMBI/UIM coverage, drivers may find that their insurance provider is unwilling to pay the full compensation needed for recovery. That makes it crucial that injured parties present the strongest case possible when filing a claim.