Q: What rights does an uninsured driver have if they were severely injured in a car accident at no fault of their own?
My mother was recently in a car accident that left her with extensive neurological and spine damage, I want to know what her rights are and who I/we should be pursuing legal action against. The other driver hit her vehicle from the rear, the damages to the vehicle and treatment for her injuries were covered but there is lasting damage to my mothers spine, nerves and psychology that has left her unable to work. I want to know what actions to take so that my mother doesn't have to suffer for something she did not cause. She is not the same person anymore, mentally or physically.
I am very grateful for your help, thank you.
A: Assuming no exceptions apply, such as the defendant driver being drunk at the time, California law does not allow an uninsured driver to collect for "general damages". Those types of damages are generally referred to as "pain and suffering", although there is more to it than that. However, an uninsured driver can still be compensated for economic damages, such as loss of income. Such damages would also include rehabilitation costs and assistive devices and alterations. The full range of allowable economic damages is outside the scope of a forum such as this, and may require the assessment by experts. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.
William John Light agrees with this answer
Your mom should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. The most important question if responsibility is clear and if your mom has permanent injuries is the amount of insurance of the other driver as well as the owner (And the employer if the other driver was working at the time).
A further source for money is your moms under-insured motorist insurance, if she had that in a sufficient amount.
Another consideration is to hire an attorney who has extensive experience in negotiation down liens. There will undoubtedly be very large liens due for the medical expenses incurred and to be incurred on her case.
Finally, make sure to hire an attorney who will reduce his or her fee if the other insurance is not sufficient to make your mom whole.
William John Light agrees with this answer
A: If the other driver has liability insurance, your mother can look to that for compensation. If your mother has UM/UIM coverage, she can look to that for compensation if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. If the other driver was in the course and scope of employment, or performing a task for another, your mother might be able to look to the insurance policies of those persons. Your mother might be able to make a claim with the Victim's Compensation Board if her injuries were the result of a crime. If your mother has disability insurance, and is unable to work, she might be able to make a claim against that insurer. Since your mother was, apparently, uninsured at the time of the collision, she would not be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, unless the other driver was DUI. Nevertheless, her medical expenses and wage loss sound potentially significant, so a substantial recovery is possible.
More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue.
Initially, you should set up an Initial Consultation with an ACCIDENT Attorney such as myself.
You can go to my website to review my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances & publications.
This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any Attorney-Client relationship.
It's important to not talk about this case to anyone except your attorney. Please remember anything you say herein, is discoverable and can and will be used against you.
The problem with talking to the police, or an insurance adjuster on an accident case, is that they often misunderstand what you said or they do not write down everything.
Often it is what THEY THOUGHT THEY HEARD YOU SAY that hurts you. You never want to admit to anything.
You should consider retaining a lawyer and then remain quiet and let the lawyer be the strawman and take the heat.
In other words, you would be happy to talk to the police, but your lawyer has ordered you “not to talk without his permission”.
You then suggest they talk to your lawyer for permission for you to talk with them.
I never let my clients talk to anyone.
Lastly, if mom didn't have insurance she cannot collect for pain and suffering but could collect some economic damages.
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