UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUTO INSURANCE POLICY

Accident Injury Lawyer

California Vehicle Code § 16020 requires that all drivers and all owners of a motor vehicle must carry automobile insurance when operating a motor vehicle. California Vehicle Code § 16056 requires that the minimum coverage carried by an operator or owner of a motor vehicle must be a minimum of $15,000.00/$30,000.00. There are many different insurance policies with different types of coverage. The insurance policies are long and complex, and filled with different conditions and exclusions on when the policy applies. Make sure to have your Car Accident Lawyer review your policy in details before getting behind a vehicle.

Accident Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles

Auto Insurance Costs

When purchasing auto insurance coverage, there are certain payments that must be made to maintain the auto insurance coverage without lapsing and additional payments that must be made when making a claim.

  1. A “premium” is paid, depending on the policy, every six months, and it is the amount that is paid to the Los Angeles insurance company to purchase the auto policy. The premium payment covers the term or length of the policy, typically six months or one year, depending on the policy.
  2. A “deductible” is paid when someone opens up a claim with their Los Angeles insurance company. Typically, deductibles range from $500.00 to $1,000.00. Depending on who the at-fault party is, the deductible could be recovered when making an insurance claim. No fees are paid to an insurance agent because they are paid by the insurance companies. However, if a broker is involved, there may be broker fees.

Auto Insurance Coverage Limits

Limits are typically divided into two parts: the first number covers the injury or death of the first claimant and the second number covers any additional parties by stating the maximum benefits per claim. For example, a $15,000.00/$30,000.00 will pay up to $15,000.00 for the death or injury of the first claimant and if more than one person is injured in the collision, a total of $30,000.00 will be paid out for the death or injury of the other parties, but no more than $15,000.00 per person. Coverage limits also extend to property damage and typically range from $5,000.00 to $100,000.00 per claim.

In Los Angeles and California, the driver and owner of a vehicle must carry a minimum of $15,000.00/$30,000.00 coverage for bodily injury claims and $5,000.00 for property damage claims.

Different Types of Insurance Coverage

  1. Liability Coverage: Liability coverage applies when someone is involved in a collision and is deemed at-fault for causing the collision. The coverage limits will only apply to the other claimants and not the insured. This includes coverage for the other person’s medical expenses and vehicle damage. California requires a $15,000.00/$30,000.00/$5,000.00 minimum liability insurance coverage to operate a motor vehicle.
  2. Collision Coverage: Unlike liability coverage, collision coverage only applies to vehicle damage and covers the repairs of the insured’s vehicle, regardless of who is deemed at-fault for the collision.
  3. Comprehensive Coverage: Just like its name, comprehensive coverage will cover everything else – if the car is stolen, broken into, weather damage, hitting a side pole, etc. Regardless of who is at-fault for the collision, comprehensive coverage covers all the other types of property damage claims for the insured’s vehicle.
  4. Personal Injury Protection: Often referred to as PIP, this coverage will cover any medical bills up to the limits that are claimed by the insurer. For those who do not have health insurance, the payments will be made directly to the insured for any out of pocket expenses. This coverage typically ranges from $5,000.00 to $50,000.00.
  5. Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Not all drivers abide by the laws of the state, and chances are, drivers do not carry any insurance coverage. In those instances, the insured’s insurance coverage will kick in and cover the collision. For example, if the insured has $50,000.00/$100,000.00 uninsured motorist coverage and is involved in a collision with a driver who has no insurance, the insured can make a claim up to $50,000.00 against the insured’s insurance company for damages and up to $100,000.00 for the entire collision.
  6. Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Similarly to uninsured motorist coverage, the underinsured motorist coverage will kick in as an excess coverage when the at-fault party’s insurance limits are not enough to cover all the damages. For example, if the at-fault party carries $15,000.00/$30,000.00 and the insured carries $50,000.00/$100,000.00 underinsured motorist coverage, the insured can make a claim up to $35,000.00/$70,000.00 for the collision against their own insurance company.

Personal Exposure After Limits Are Exhausted

In an event of an incident where the auto insurance policy is the only policy that covers the incident and is at fault for the incident, if the injuries claimed by the other parties exceed the coverage that applies, the policy holder’s personal assets will be exposed to a judgment or a verdict. Depending on the usage of the vehicle and employment history, consider obtaining the maximum auto insurance limits or an umbrella policy to avoid exposure.

Know Your Auto Policy

Insurance policies are complex and are filled with exceptions in order to avoid coverage in situations where you need it most. Recovery could be limited based on your coverage.  It is important to understand the extent of your auto insurance policy and what coverage and exceptions could possibly arise in the future. It is just as important to consult an attorney in your state immediately following an incident to better understand and protect your legal rights. Do not wait, never hesitate, and reach out to a professional who is ready to serve your needs.

 

 

Location: Los Angeles, CA 91403

Consultation: Free - 60 minutes

Tel: (310) 363-0551

Email: jonathan [ at ] ellisbakh.com

 

 

Jonathan Bakhsheshian , Esq.

is an associate attorney at Ellis & Bakh, LLP where he specializes in wrongful death and catastrophic injury litigation.
He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles and earned his Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University School of Law. At Pepperdine, Jonathan was the Lead Articles Editor of the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal and a lead member of the negotiations and mediations Team. He competed in several nationwide and international negotiation and mediation competitions. Jonathan continued his studies at the number one, nationally-ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and obtained his Masters in Dispute Resolution.

In addition to his classroom training, Jonathan externed for the United States District Court, Central District of California; United States Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice; Honorable Judge Robert Kwan, Bankruptcy Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California; Los Angeles Superior Court; and for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Jonathan is dedicated to the principal and philosophy that every injured victim is entitled to the best representation, regardless of their personal financial status or complexity of their case. Jonathan prides himself on being a tough, creative, and fair legal advocate for all of his clients.

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR ATTORNEY-WRITTEN BLOGS

 

This article is made available by the posting attorney for educational and/or discussion purposes only, as well as to give the reader some general information and a superficial understanding of legal terms, but certainly not to provide specific legal advice.  The article does not constitute either formal or informal legal advice, and is not a solicitation for the provision of legal services.  Under some interpretations of the legal ethics rules, some or all material in this article may be considered attorney advertising, but it is certainly not legal advice, and was never intended to provide legal advice.  The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based upon advertisements, including any posted articles such as this one.  Every legal matter is different.  No specific results are implied by any discussion provided in any article, and no specific results could be achieved.

 

When reading this article, the reader must understand that there is no Attorney-Client relationship between the reader and the posting attorney.  An attorney-client relationship is established only when there is either a Contract between the parties, or a private, confidential meeting and/or communications between the Attorney and the client.

 

The posted article may be changed, improved, or updated without notice.  The posted article is basically an expression of opinions and thoughts, and the posting attorney makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, or validity of any information in the article, or otherwise on this website.  The posting attorney will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use, in any way or form.

 

This article should not, and cannot, be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.  This material does not constitute legal advice, and no reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information contained in the posted article, without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice on that reader’s particular circumstances.

 

Furthermore, the posting attorney does not endorse any content provided on this website, including any blogs or articles posted by others on this website, and is not associated with the publisher or the website, in any way or form.

You Agree to the Terms and Conditions Disclaimer

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The Best Time To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney

“YOUR  ATTORNEY  IS  YOUR  COACH”

Lawyer-Up” NOW, Ask Questions Later

The best time to hire a Personal Injury Attorney is immediately, just as soon as the Car Accident or Slip & Fall occurs.  By analogy, let’s say you’re on a professional football team, heading to the Super Bowl.  When do you want your Coach to be there?  Right from the very start, of course!  Your Attorney plays the same role as your Coach.  How well the litigation process proceeds, may be determined largely by how well you handle the “kick-off.”  Don’t make mistakes that you will later regret.

Scouting” the Opponent

Just like a Life Coach needs Scouting reports on the other team, you need all of the relevant information from the other car involved in an accident.  You need name, address, telephone number, Insurance Card, Registration, Driver License, to name a few.  Just think of your Driver License as your “Name,” your Registration as your “Rank,” and your Insurance Card as your “Serial Number.”  That’s all the information you ever can be required to give.  Your Attorney can help you obtain and organize this vital information, as well as contact both your insurance company, and the other guy’s insurance company.  Your Attorney can contact the local Police Department, to get a copy of the Police Report, and get it right away.

Don’t Talk Too Much

At the scene of an accident, don’t be offering apologies or explanations.  Don’t say “I’m so sorry,” or “it was my fault,” or “I was on the telephone.”  For example, I was once in a serious Car Accident on the 170 Freeway.  I was a passenger, not the driver.  The accident was clearly the other Driver’s Fault, since he veered suddenly into the Car Pool Lane, in order to swerve around a line of traffic, as the cars ahead of him slowed to a stop.  As he swerved, he crossed a double yellow (actually quadruple yellow) line, and plowed into the side or our car, since we were already in the Car Pool Lane.

Oddly enough, the Driver of our car had been in an unrelated Bumper Bumping earlier that morning.  The Driver’s Daughter, age 15, could not stop from saying, “OMG (oh my gosh), Mom, two accidents in one day!,” within earshot of the other Driver, who was at fault.  At first, I tried a polite “Shhh” in order to give the talkative teenager the idea of keeping quiet, but it didn’t work.  Eventually, desperate to stop her conversation, I said “shut-up!”  Of course, I lived to regret that comment ….

The point is, right from the start, you’ve got to think like a Personal Injury Attorney, and if possible, hire an Attorney … right away!  Some things … a lot of things … are best left unsaid.

If it’s a serious accident, there may well be litigation, including Court Hearings and Depositions.  At your Deposition, if you have an experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer that knows how to be a good Coach, you will learn things you’ve never learned before … like how to answer simply “yes,” or “no,” and then to remain silent … no matter how uncomfortable that might feel. It is very important you follow the guidance of your Personal Injury Lawyer.

 

 

 

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DRIVING WITHOUT AUTO INSURANCE AND A DRIVER’S LICENSE

California requires that all drivers and all owners of a motor vehicle must carry automobile insurance when operating a motor vehicle. The laws also require that the driver carry a valid driver’s license. If someone is involved in an auto collision without a valid driver’s license or valid auto insurance, recovery can be limited. There may also be criminal liability for failure to obey the rules of the road.

What happens if someone is involved in an auto collision and does not have auto insurance?

If someone is involved in an auto collision and does not have automobile insurance, recovery may be limited. In 1996, California passed the Limitations on Recovery to Uninsured Motorist Act that limits the recovery of automobile drivers who are involved in motor collisions and do not have auto insurance. Also known as Proposition 213, the act denies recovery for noneconomic damages, such as claims for pain and suffering. However, there are certain exceptions. For example, if the vehicle was operator for the driver’s employer, if the accident occurred on private property, or the owner of the vehicle did have insurance coverage.

Car Accident Attorney

Nevertheless, if someone was involved in an auto collision and cannot show proof of financial responsibility by purchasing liability insurance, the person involved in the auto collision can post a bond or deposit cash in the amount of $35,000.00 with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This allows the party to meet the financial responsibility requirement of the California Vehicle Code and allows full recovery. Though, this process is tedious and requires assistance from an attorney.

If the person involved is a pedestrian or a passenger in the vehicle, then Proposition 213 does not apply. There are also other exceptions if the collision resulted in a wrongful death claim, caused by a drunk driver, or if there is a claim for punitive damages. These exceptions are case specific, and a Car Accident Attorney must be able to make the determination.

What happens if someone is involved in an auto collision but does not have a driver’s license?

In California, driving without a valid driver’s license is either a misdemeanor or an infraction. This is made clear in California Vehicle Code § 12500. If charged and convicted for a misdemeanor, there can be penalties up to and including six months in jail and up to $1,000.00 in court fines. If the conviction is determined to be an infraction, the maximum penalty is $250.00.

However, not having a driver’s license itself does not impact the collision claim. They are two different claims and there is no requirement to have a driver’s license to make a claim under an insurance policy. This gets tricky only if there is no auto insurance coverage or the driver involved in the collision is explicitly excluded from the policy.

What happens if someone is involved in an auto collision but with a suspended driver’s license?

In California, driving with a suspended driver’s license is a misdemeanor. California Vehicle Code § 14601 imposes penalties such as jail time and court fines. Typically, the jail time and court fines are relative to the underlying reason of the suspension i.e. DUI.

Contact an Attorney

Insurance policies are complex. Recovery could be limited based on your coverage. If a claimant is uninsured or has a suspended driver’s license, there may also be criminal charges. It is important to Consult an Attorney in your state immediately following an incident to better understand and protect your legal rights. Do not wait, never hesitate, and reach out to a professional who is ready to serve your needs.

 

Location: Los Angeles, CA 91403

Consultation: Free - 60 minutes

Tel: (310) 363-0551

Email: jonathan [ at ] ellisbakh.com

 

 

Jonathan Bakhsheshian , Esq.

is an associate attorney at Ellis & Bakh, LLP where he specializes in wrongful death and catastrophic injury litigation.
He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles and earned his Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University School of Law. At Pepperdine, Jonathan was the Lead Articles Editor of the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal and a lead member of the negotiations and mediations Team. He competed in several nationwide and international negotiation and mediation competitions. Jonathan continued his studies at the number one, nationally-ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and obtained his Masters in Dispute Resolution.

In addition to his classroom training, Jonathan externed for the United States District Court, Central District of California; United States Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice; Honorable Judge Robert Kwan, Bankruptcy Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California; Los Angeles Superior Court; and for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Jonathan is dedicated to the principal and philosophy that every injured victim is entitled to the best representation, regardless of their personal financial status or complexity of their case. Jonathan prides himself on being a tough, creative, and fair legal advocate for all of his clients.

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR ATTORNEY-WRITTEN BLOGS

 

This article is made available by the posting attorney for educational and/or discussion purposes only, as well as to give the reader some general information and a superficial understanding of legal terms, but certainly not to provide specific legal advice.  The article does not constitute either formal or informal legal advice, and is not a solicitation for the provision of legal services.  Under some interpretations of the legal ethics rules, some or all material in this article may be considered attorney advertising, but it is certainly not legal advice, and was never intended to provide legal advice.  The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based upon advertisements, including any posted articles such as this one.  Every legal matter is different.  No specific results are implied by any discussion provided in any article, and no specific results could be achieved.

 

When reading this article, the reader must understand that there is no Attorney-Client relationship between the reader and the posting attorney.  An attorney-client relationship is established only when there is either a Contract between the parties, or a private, confidential meeting and/or communications between the Attorney and the client.

 

The posted article may be changed, improved, or updated without notice.  The posted article is basically an expression of opinions and thoughts, and the posting attorney makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, or validity of any information in the article, or otherwise on this website.  The posting attorney will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use, in any way or form.

 

This article should not, and cannot, be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.  This material does not constitute legal advice, and no reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information contained in the posted article, without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice on that reader’s particular circumstances.

 

Furthermore, the posting attorney does not endorse any content provided on this website, including any blogs or articles posted by others on this website, and is not associated with the publisher or the website, in any way or form.

You Agree to the Terms and Conditions Disclaimer

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