Do Insurance Companies Limit Car Accident Payouts in Fresno?
In a fair world, car accident victims who suffer catastrophic injuries should receive compensation from the responsible party. Since in many cases the at-fault driver’s insurance company is the one to pay, that payout could be much less than the victim deserves. Even when injuries are minor, some insurance companies act on their incentive to save money more than being fair to the injured.
If you or a loved one has been injured, you may want to file an injury claim against the at-fault driver. Before you do, however, there are a few California state laws that can help you understand the process.
Limitations on Car Accident Payouts in Fresno
One important law that can determine whether you have a right to file a claim is the statute of limitation. From the date of your car accident, you have two years to file an injury claim. This requires filing your initial complaint with the right branch of the civil court system in California.
Another important thing to remember is the reason insurance companies attempt to limit payouts. Basically, payouts are limited by insurance companies because their profits will suffer. When you pay car insurance premiums, a small percentage of those premiums count toward profits. Real money is made by insurance companies that saves money on claim settlements. Where approximately 3% of premiums go to profits, 100% of every dollar saved in an insurance claim goes to profits.
Yes, insurance companies are in the business of making money. Therefore, their goal is not to be fair when making a settlement offer.
Not only are you subjected to the for-profit insurance industry while trying to recover from serious injuries, but California law also places limits on car accident payouts.
One example of this is with uninsured drivers after a car accident. Under California law, most uninsured drivers are not eligible to recover noneconomic pain and suffering damages. The law prevents such payments even if the other driver caused the accident.
Noneconomic damages also cover physical impairment, disfigurement and the inconvenience being in an accident has caused. Like most rules, however, there is an exception.
An uninsured driver can recover noneconomic damages if during the time of the accident, the other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, the impaired driver must be convicted of a DUI charge connected with the accident.
Car Insurance Rules and Regulations for California Drivers
Car insurance is factored in a claim for injuries after an accident. Whether you file a claim under your policy or the other driver’s, the maximum payout you receive is connected to the policy coverage.
Minimum amounts for liability in a car insurance policy are:
• $15,000 for one person’s injury or death
• $30,000 for more than one person’s injury or death
• $5,000 for property damage
Since California does not require drivers to carry underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, this could leave you in a state of uncertainty after the accident.
Contact an Experienced California Car Accident Lawyer
You might believe that hiring a car accident attorney is not necessary if your case appears obvious of who is at-fault. Perhaps you did not incur too many losses: several missed days from work or minor injuries. Or, maybe you were rear-ended at a stop sign and damage to your car was minimal.
Either one of these instances may appear to have minimal consequences, especially if a trip to the doctor reveals a few bumps and bruises. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may accept responsibility, but will still haggle you on how much it is willing to pay.
Sure, the insurance company may offer to reimburse medical expenses and repairs to your car, but they might not offer to pay more to cover your inconvenience from being in the accident.
Further, they might try to claim that you share some or all of the fault in the accident. This is especially true if your injuries prove to be significant beyond minor cuts and bruises. Before they offer a fair payout, they will try to discredit your claim. Some will even attempt to use past medical conditions against you.
This is the perfect time for you to contact a car accident lawyer who is very familiar with California laws. He or she will use this knowledge to handle the back and forth most insurers play to avoid being financially responsible.
A good attorney can anticipate and avoid obstacles that you would never recognize on your own. Therefore, make sure your rights are fully protected in a car accident lawsuit.