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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    8

    Default Rear-Ended and Injured, with Lapsed Insurance

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: CA

    Hi. I was rear ended while at a full stop at a stop light. No obvious damage to fender on sight, but the at-fault vehicle went under my car (he was a scion, I am a lincoln towncar) and he destroyed the impact bar and shocks completely. I was taken to hospital in ambulance, my head hit the head rest twice and I could not turn my neck immediately. I had neck and lower back pain immediately. I've been rear ended once before, over ten years ago with the same issues, which resolved themselves with physical therapy, medication and shots.

    Issue with my insurance: I pay 6 months at a time. I got an email from my insurance co. I went to the website, thought I paid, got an email from the company that said "my documents were ready to be viewed". I never thought anything of it again. I did not receive cancellation notices, I never thought to check my bank balance - I've not had issues in years. Evidently, they never took out payment and canceled my insurance. The DMV didn't even notify me, which happened to me once (erroneously) in 1998, so I know they notify drivers when insurance companies report lapses in coverage. (I am registered in AZ - go to school in CA).

    So, I'm told that because my insurance "lapsed" I am not entitled to recovery for "pain and suffering" in CA, so I haven't followed up. I just keep suffering...no MRI's, no scans, no nothing. I can tell you I am using a heating pad almost daily now (accident was 3 months ago) and I am now having other problems. I've called a couple of attorneys that don't want the case because they say there is no recovery. I am afraid to go to doctors because I am afraid of being liable for bills (I have insurance by my insurer has tagged my payment method as "third party" for accident related issues).

    How is it possible that someone could get hit - through no fault of their own, and not be entitled to any kind of recovery?? Is this true?? I'm not sure what to do...the insurance company of the other driver is trying to cut me a check for $500 for all medical bills (the er alone was over $5000) and I'm not quite sure how to handle this one - nor do I have the time to wade through all this myself. I'm in grad school and have an autistic son (single mom) and I'm in bed two or three days a week sometimes because of this....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,714

    Default Re: Rear-Ended in Ca, Issue W/ My Insurance - I Was Injured. Options

    I'm sure somebody else will pop in but I just wanted to state that "pain and suffering" is not payment for medical bills. Pain and suffering is just that and is beyond liability for med expenses.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Rear-Ended in Ca, Issue W/ My Insurance - I Was Injured. Options

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    I'm sure somebody else will pop in but I just wanted to state that "pain and suffering" is not payment for medical bills. Pain and suffering is just that and is beyond liability for med expenses.
    Yes, understood.

    However, my insurance has me tagged as "3rd party payee" for accident related issues. (back, neck) so when I went to the hospital for a bladder infection, they tried to reject me as insured (put me down as self pay) at first until I talked them into believing me that my infection was not related to my back injury. (which it may or may not be long story...was shortly after accident, and is a permanent condition thought to be "possibly" caused by trauma)

    This is why I have not pursued any medical treatment because I don't have the money to pay out of pocket for medical treatment relating to my back.

    Unpaid medical bills go to collection agencies. Collection agencies go on your credit report. Collections on your credit report = no student loans. I am in grad school as I mentioned.

    Not being able to pay out of pocket = TONS of suffering.

    Regarding "pain and suffering" I understand it's separate.

    However, it seems rather strange to me that the penalty for not having insurance can actually amount to thousands upon thousands of dollars and the possibility of a life filled with suffering and pain because one cannot receive treatment for the injuries that another person caused you? Isn't that a grossly harsh penalty? Especially where the only fault of the driver who is hit is that he/she is not carrying insurance?

    I mean seriously. The guy - who was fiddling with his radio, talking on his phone and who did not even BRAKE before he rear ended me only has to pay a $500 deductible and higher premiums for a couple of years, and in the meantime, I can't walk around the mall or sit through a movie with my kid anymore - for who knows how long?

    Is this really, truly, the law? And if so, who needs to get letters to change this nonsense?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Southeastern Michigan
    Posts
    1,226

    Default Re: Rear-Ended in Ca, Issue W/ My Insurance - I Was Injured. Options

    If I may and please note that I am NOT an attorney. You would be talking punititive damages. As defined by law (high level)

    Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, may be awarded by the trier of fact (a jury or a judge, if a jury trial was waived) in addition to actual damages, which compensate a plaintiff for the losses suffered due to the harm caused by the defendant.
    If you feel that you should be awarded punitive, then you need to consult with an attorney who specializes in injury cases. If s/he feels you have a case, then you move forward. If not...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,714

    Default Re: Rear-Ended in Ca, Issue W/ My Insurance - I Was Injured. Options

    My point is; California is not a no-fault insurance state so the at fault party would still be liable for your medical expenses. Pain and suffering aside, your medical bills should still be covered by his insurance.




    Not being able to pay out of pocket = TONS of suffering.
    that is not what pain and suffering is.



    .

    However, it seems rather strange to me that the penalty for not having insurance can actually amount to thousands upon thousands of dollars and the possibility of a life filled with suffering and pain because one cannot receive treatment for the injuries that another person caused you?
    Now, I am accepting your claim that pain and suffering is not covered but you said nothing about actual damages liability and that is what your injuries would be.

    Isn't that a grossly harsh penalty? Especially where the only fault of the driver who is hit is that he/she is not carrying insurance?
    I still don't see your prolblem. You keep speaking of pain and suffering but you say nothing to damages liability.



    Is this really, truly, the law? And if so, who needs to get letters to change this nonsense?
    Nonsense? I don't see a problem with being penalized for failing to follow the law. Speaking of penalties, I believe your license will disappear for awhile due to the accident and no insurance as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Rear-Ended and Injured, with Lapsed Insurance

    Hi everybody. Thanks for the input. Evidently, AZ has a law (though I'm not sure what it is yet) that requires insurance to notify prior to cancellation.

    My insurance failed to notify me, did not notify the DMV, and frankly, I had no idea I was canceled. I went online, paid, got an email that my "paperwork was ready to be viewed", had absolutely no reason to "double check" because I'd never had issues. Didn't check my bank balance etc. (Evidently, payment was not deducted from my bank account) I never received cancellation notices, I did not receive a notice from the DMV in AZ saying I'd been canceled or that my license had been suspended (I've had the same mailing address for 8 years, and the insurance company had the address at which the vehicle was housed for accurate premium quote purposes)...

    So, I have two issues here really. First, one in AZ - failure to notify by insurance - which if I prevail upon this, may be able to just pay my premiums as I thought I had in the first place, and be covered, which would eliminate this "non-insured" issue.

    BTW, I mildly resent being accused of 'failing to follow the law'. I have not had issues of this kind before. I pay my premiums six months at a time, and no reasonable belief that I should have been "extra diligent" on this or any other occasion in that I should have had to "double check" anything. This was not my failure to pay, or my negligence. It had to be a clerical error of some kind - not my fault.

    Anyway, again, thanks for all of your input, and I will have to seek counsel who is eligible to practice in both CA and AZ I think...or else just write a letter with applicable statutes and documentation to the insurance co with a cashiers check for the premiums during the 'lapse' to address coverage issues - which there really should not have been any of. Secondly, I'll have to address the issues of getting treatment for the health issues I am having as a result of this accident, and I will just have to find doctors that will treat through the at-fault insured's insurance company. I will have to figure the rest out later, because I am simply in too much pain for this to go on much longer...

    Best to all.

    Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,714

    Default Re: Rear-Ended and Injured, with Lapsed Insurance

    failing to follow the law; not having active insurance on your vehicle.

    that does not mean it was intentional. it just means that for whatever reason, as it stands, you did not have insurance on your vehicle which is a failure to follow the law. You can be offended or not. It was a simple statement of fact.

    You could very well be correct regarding the notification. Such laws are not unusual.

    have you asked your insurance company if they had notified you? In many states, a simple letter via 1st class mail is all that is required and if they have record of it being mailed, they are covered, and you aren't.

    I went online, paid, got an email that my "paperwork was ready to be viewed", had absolutely no reason to "double check" because I'd never had issues. Didn't check my bank balance etc. (Evidently, payment was not deducted from my bank account)
    the "went on line, paid" etc. could be critical. If you have someway to verify this, it could be very helpful in supporting your position.

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