It is perfectly reasonable and even natural to assume that the person at fault for a crash will have insurance. After all, California state law requires liability coverage when individuals register their vehicles.
However, someone who knowingly violates other traffic laws could very easily choose to cancel their insurance policy or let it lapse after renewing their vehicle registration. Those involved in motor vehicle collisions in California sometime realize shortly thereafter that the person who hit them isn’t able to provide insurance coverage because they don’t have an active policy.
Such risks are relatively significant in California. California has one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the nation. As of 2019, roughly 16.6% of motorists didn’t have coverage while driving, meaning that California has the tenth-highest number of uninsured drivers in the country.
Victims may need to turn to their own coverage
Given that California does not require very much liability coverage to begin with, many motorists in California do choose to invest in extra coverage. Uninsured motorist protection can help cover the costs of a crash that the at-fault driver should technically be responsible for covering. Of course, not everyone has it. It is also worth noting that using supplemental insurance will usually increase someone’s premiums even though they were not to blame for the wreck.
People affected by a crash may end up in court
California law allows for personal injury lawsuits when one person causes injury and financial harm to others through negligence or misconduct. Violating traffic laws and failing to carry insurance are actions that are both against the law and clearly negligent behavior. Therefore, uninsured motorists who cause collisions often end up facing lawsuits brought by those that they injure. California crash claims could result in full compensation for someone’s lost wages and medical expenses, as well as any other provable expenses resulting from the wreck.
Knowing the options that someone has following a crash caused by an uninsured motorist may help an individual who was not at fault (or, at least, not primarily responsible) for a wreck defray the expenses it generates.