California state law limits who can drive by imposing certain requirements. The most basic responsibility involves getting a driver’s license. Motorists must pass a test, submit proof of course completion and file paperwork with the state to obtain a driver’s license. They also need to register their vehicle, a process that typically requires providing proof of insurance.
Whenever someone has to interact with police officers because of a traffic issue, they will generally need to provide their proof of insurance. Officers ask to look at insurance documents after collisions and even during basic traffic stops. Despite these requirements, some people end up hurt in crashes caused by people without insurance.
Uninsured drivers have personal liability
The purpose of car insurance is to better cover the costs related to collisions and protect drivers from personal liability. The average person would not have enough in savings to pay to repair someone else’s vehicle or cover their hospital bills. Insurance can help provide that support. The party not at fault for a crash can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance, and the party at fault for the crash can count on their coverage to pay for the expenses generated by the collision, at least up to the policy limit. When someone does not have insurance, they expose themselves to litigation risk.
At least as of 2019, the most recent year with data available, California had a high rate of uninsured drivers. It had the tenth-highest rate of uninsured motorists. As many as 16.6% of drivers registered in California may not have coverage. Anyone involved in a crash with one of those uninsured drivers might need to take the matter to civil court. Provided that there is proof that the uninsured driver was negligent or broke the law, the courts could very well issue a judgment in favor of the plaintiff. Compensation for the full financial impact of the wreck could be possible, including costs that would have far exceeded basic insurance coverage.
Although some drivers do carry special uninsured motorist coverage on their policies, a large claim utilizing that coverage would inevitably increase what they pay for insurance. Understanding the options available after a crash caused by an uninsured driver may help those trying to cover the cost of a recent wreck without escalating their own costs. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started in this regard.