. All states that legally require auto insurance to be able to drive legally, will always have minimum coverage amounts. In California, the minimum liability for bodily injury is coverage of fifteen thousand dollars per person or thirty thousand dollars per accident. The liability for property damage is coverage of five thousand dollars per accident. Uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury is fifteen thousand dollars per person or thirty thousand dollars per accident. Uninsured motorist coverage for property damage is three thousand and five hundred dollars. These are minimum coverage amounts and every driver or auto owner can go for much more liability but not many people do so. You would have the legal right to drive, in regards to insurance, if you have met these auto insurance policy limits.
Let us consider a scenario wherein a person has been seriously injured and some damage has been caused to their property by a fellow driver. The injured person may not be at any fault. The injury could be severe, requiring hospitalization and leading to say thirty-five thousand dollars in medical expenses. The damage to property, say a car being hit from the rear at sixty miles per hour, may be worth twenty thousand dollars in damages to fund the repairs and possible replacements. In effect, the person who has suffered the injury and has their car damaged can claim twenty-five thousand dollars in bodily injury and twenty thousand in property damage. If the injury has caused serious pain and suffering or if the person has been unable to work for a few days, perhaps weeks, the damages can be reviewed accordingly. Ideally, one should be compensated deservingly, albeit reasonably.
If the person at fault for the accident has minimum coverage, then these claims cannot be met. The injured person would at the most get fifteen thousand dollars for medical expenses and five thousand dollars for damage caused to property, in this case the car that had been rear-ended. There would be no compensation for pain & suffering or the wages lost due to the inability of the injured person to report to their work. The only resort available to the injured person is to file a case but there is no guarantee that exponentially greater claims than these would get granted by the court, and even if they are granted, there is certainly no guarantee the judgment will be collected.
Comparing this scenario with an individual suffering a trip and fall at a grocery store that has a million dollars coverage would showcase how victims of auto accidents are severely limited with their options due to the policy limits. If the customer at the grocery store suffers a sprained ankle or wrist and claims twenty-five thousand dollars in bodily injury, the insurer could comfortably pay for it as there is a million dollars coverage. The damages are insignificant compared to the auto accident victim.