Uninsured motorists are getting to be a growing problem in California as the state sinks deeper into a recession, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports in this article. According to a new study from the Insurance Research Council, California will likely rise above the 2007 uninsured motorist rate of 18 percent. By 2010, the study estimates that one in six drivers in California will be uninsured. Experts attribute the rise in uninsured motorists to the economic downturn.
So, who is the most affected by this phenomenon? Responsible drivers who purchase insurance are the ones who end up paying for injuries caused by uninsured drivers. The Council estimated that the number of uninsured motorists actually decreased nationally from 14.9 percent in 2003 to 13.8 percent in 2007. California ranked seventh at 18 percent. New Mexico was the worst with 29 percent uninsured drivers while Massachusetts the best at 1 percent. The number of uninsured drivers is usually related to the unemployment rates. As unemployment increases, so does the percentage of people who drive without car insurance. Based on current unemployment rates nationally, the percentage of uninsured motorists is expected to go over 16 percent in 2010.
What does this mean for California’s insured motorists? It is time to take a good, hard look at your motor vehicle insurance policy and make sure that you have “uninsured” and “underinsured” motorist coverage. What this means is that if you are hit by someone who does not have auto insurance or does not have sufficient insurance to cover the auto accident damages, then your insurance company will step up and compensate you for the loss. The uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage not only covers you in an auto accident, but may also compensate you if you are involved in a pedestrian versus auto accident.
Auto accidents that involve catastrophic injuries or death are the most difficult for victims and/or their families to deal with emotionally and financially. Insurance companies don’t make it any easier because they are looking only to protect their interests. Whatever your situation, if you believe your serious injuries were caused by a negligent driver, please consult with a reputed California personal injury attorney who will be able to guide you through a complex process and ensure you receive just compensation.