New California Appellate Case Points out Trap for Minors’ Uninsured Motorist Claims

gavel.jpgAn increasing number of Bay Area hit and run and uninsured motorist accidents points out the importance of uninsured motorist coverage. Most recently, an Oakland pedestrian was killed. In San Jose, a bicyclist was hit by a hit and run truck driver.

Uninsured motorist claims that would apply to cases like these have their own set of rules which are covered by Insurance Code Section 11580.2. Within those rules however are numerous traps for the unwary.

A recent California appellate decision, Blankenship v Allstate Insurance points out one of those traps which deals with the statute of limitations. In an uninsured motorist case, a claimant must demand arbitration or file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver within two years of the date of the accident or the claim will be barred by law. The case holds that this rule applies to minors as well as adults. Therefore, minors who are injured by hit and run drivers or uninsured drivers must have their claims settled or demand arbitration within two years of the date of their accident. Unlike, civil cases, the statute of limitations is not tolled until they turn age 18.

Uninsured motorist coverage is required in every automobile liability policy issued in the state of California, unless waived in writing. As an Alameda personal injury lawyer, I have seen many instances, in both hit and run, and uninsured accidents, where mistakes have been made by claimants because they were not familiar with the peculiar rules which apply only to uninsured motorist claims. It is vitally important that anyone involved in a hit and run accident or uninsured claim know their rights under their uninsured motorist coverage.

Resource:

Blankenship v Allstate Insurance (2010) 186 Cal.App. 4th 87

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