How Liability Insurance Works
Liability insurance is the main type of car insurance.
Drivers in every state except for New Hampshire are required to buy liability insurance. In the event of a car accident, the liability insurance of the at-fault driver covers the damages to the other parties who were involved. Liability insurance covers both bodily injury and property damage claims.
However, your liability insurance does not cover your injuries or property damage if you get in an at-fault crash. It is meant to protect your from legal liability.
Each state has its own legal requirements for liability insurance. Often, these requirements are formatted as three numbers, separated by forward slashes. For example, California’s minimum mandated insurance is 15/30/5.
The first number, 15, is the amount of bodily injury coverage that is required per injured person. In California, drivers must be insured for at least $15,000 for each person injured in the accident.
The second number, 30, refers to bodily injury coverage for the entire accident. In California, drivers must be insured for at least $30,000 for all the people injured in the entire accident.
Your per accident limits are a final cap on your per person limits. If several people were injured in an accident in California, and their collective damages total greater than the per accident limit of $30,000, then they will not be able to collect more than $30,000 between them, even if their separate individual claims did not exceed the per person limit of $15,000.
The third number, 5, refers to property damage coverage. In California, drivers must be insured for at least $5,000 for any property damaged in an accident.
Why Liability Insurance Is Mandatory
A lot of people wonder why liability insurance is required in almost all states.
The answer is simple: if drivers did not have insurance, then the only way that an injured party could recover any damages after a car accident would be to directly sue the at-fault driver.
In such situations, the at-fault driver would be forced to pay all of the damages out of pocket. If their assets did not cover the full damages of the accident, then the injured driver would simply be unable to recover the rest.
Both parties, in short, would be in financial risk.
Liability insurance is meant to prevent this so insurers, and not drivers, bear the brunt of paying for the accident. Drivers will only be sued in the most serious accidents, when their insurance does not cover everything.
An at-fault driver will typically see their car insurance premiums go up, but their financial burden is much less than it would be without insurance.
Filing a Claim: Why You Can’t Trust Insurance Adjusters
If you were injured in an accident with an at-fault driver, then you must file a claim with the other driver’s liability insurance.
Once you file a claim, you will be contacted by an insurance claims adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company.
Insurance adjusters goal isto negotiate with you and attempt to settle your claim.
As you might have guessed, adjusters are not exactly interested in helping you. Insurance adjusters get large numbers of new cases every month, and their job has two basic incentives: to settle a claim as quickly as possible, for as little as possible.
The ideal claim for an insurance adjuster is one which can be settled immediately, and insurance adjusters who come the closest to making this a reality receive high performance evaluations.
As a result, insurance adjusters will do everything they can to make you and your claim disappear. The appeal of a quick cash settlement can be quite tempting. The agents for the insurers may discourage them from speaking to a Los Angeles car accident attorney by reminding them of the high cost of legal services and of the money they can save by doing it themselves without paying attorney’s fees. Only rarely does an injured party receive fair compensation for their pain and suffering without the guide of an attorney.
No matter how they may represent themselves, insurance adjusters’ goals are not equal with your own.
Other Types of Insurance
There are a few other types of car insurance which you may need to know about, aside from liability coverage.
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is meant to protect you if you get in a crash with an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver who cannot be found. It may cover property damage, bodily injury, or both. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is closely related, but it covers damages in a crash where the other driver was not sufficiently insured to cover your full losses.
UM and UIM coverage are required in some states. Even if they are optional in your state, however, they are still a good idea to buy if you can afford them.
Collision and comprehensive coverage cover the costs of your car if it is damaged or destroyed in a collision or by another factor, regardless of fault. They are optional in every state, but are still useful to buy for most drivers, unless your car is so old that it is not worth much on the market.
Can I Afford a Car Accident Lawyer?
Many people assume that they can’t afford to hire a personal injury attorney after an accident, or else they hire a cheap and substandard attorney. They believe that lawyers are for the wealthy, and that they don’t have the option of getting top rate legal representation.
No matter your income level, you can be represented by NabiLaw. This is because we operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay nothing to us unless we win. If we win your case, we will be paid an agreed-upon percentage of your judgment or settlement.
At NabiLaw we believe that everyone deserves to be represented fairly after an accident, no matter what. This also allows us to take cases which we might otherwise not have been able to.
Contingency fee arrangement has one other benefit, it give our firm a direct financial incentive to get you the largest settlement or judgment that we possibly can, because simply we do not get paid unless you do.