Woodland Hills personal injury lawyer Barry P. Goldberg is a student and teacher of all things “Uninsured and Underinsured” when it comes to car accidents. Woodland Hills is a large suburb of Los Angeles California and the “Uninsured and Underinsured” motorist issue is critical and continuing. Most drivers are unaware that before 1960 most states did not have any form of Financial Responsibility laws requiring any automobile liability insurance of any kind. In fact, California’s Uninsured Motorist Statute pre-dated its compulsory financial responsibility requirements.
Beginning in the mid-1950’s, corresponding with the growth of car culture and suburbia, car accidents were becoming common place and “unsatisfied judgments” were likewise becoming a major financial impact on everyday motorists. New York was one of the first states to offer true Uninsured Motorist endorsements, in some cases without any additional charge. Many states, including California, were taking note of New York’s “uninsured motorist experience” and were attempting to fashion laws to adapt to the rising crisis.
Even though liability insurance was not compulsory, as of 1959, there was only 4 percent of drivers in California that were uninsured or not otherwise financially responsible. However, with about 7 million drivers, the number was large enough— 280,000 drivers— for California to declare that the problem was of “crisis proportions,” and a solution would be required immediately. California passed its Uninsured Motorist Statute, Insurance Code §11580.2 to “solve” the problem. Among other things, the statute required that Uninsured Motorist coverage would be part of every policy issued in California, unless specifically waived.
Now—fast forward to 2016. In California, depending on the source and the basis for the statistic, it is estimated that there are about 24 million licensed drivers and about 2 million unlicensed drivers. Unlicensed drivers are not eligible to obtain automobile insurance. A recent report estimates that another 4.2 million Californians — or one in six drivers— has a suspended license. While it is possible to be insured with a suspended license in certain circumstances, it is a chilling statistic when it comes to being in a car accident in California. As a personal injury lawyer in the Los Angeles Area, Barry P. Goldberg believes that the published statistics of uninsured drivers in California at 15%, are unrealistically low. Rather, 25% is a much more realistic estimate. Depending on the geographic area, the uninsured numbers probably top 50%.
In addition to the number of uninsured drivers, recent studies have confirmed that uninsured drivers are far more likely to be involved in car accidents and 3 times more likely to cause a fatal collision. If uninsured drivers were considered a “crisis” in 1959 with 4% or 280,000 uninsured drivers, what would you call 2016 with 25% or 5 million uninsured drivers? Barry P. Goldberg submits that we are far past a “crisis” at this time.
Woodland Hills personal injury lawyer Barry P. Goldberg argues that the only way to safely drive in the Los Angeles area and the rest of California is by “self-insuring” by buying enough uninsured motorist coverage to sufficiently cover you and your family. If you are in an accident there is an excellent chance that it will be with an uninsured driver.
Thanks to our friend Barry P. Goldberg, of Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation, for providing some insight into car accident practice in Woodland Hills, California.