The process of filing an insurance claim following a car accident can be confusing. This time can be even more stressful when a driver gets a claim denial because the accident involved an excluded driver. What does this mean, and what are a driver’s legal options for compensation following a car accident? Learn how to proceed with a claim denial following an accident with an excluded driver.
What Is an Excluded Driver?
As the name implies, an excluded driver is someone that a policyholder intentionally leaves off an insurance policy. When an excluded person uses a driver’s car, either with or without permission, the insurance company will not provide coverage in the event of an accident.
Drivers typically exclude a driver to save money. For example, a teenager who racks up speeding tickets or a brother who has a DUI could lead to expensive insurance premiums. As a result, many drivers exclude these individuals from an insurance policy to curb monthly expenses.
Excluding a driver from an insurance policy usually requires a lot of paperwork and signing consent forms. In this way, a policyholder knows the consequences of excluding a driver on his or her coverage. Unfortunately, this does not stop excluded drivers from using a vehicle, with or without permission from the policyholder.
California, like many other states, has a “permissive use” law regarding car ownership. Essentially, insurance companies will cover anyone who drives an insured vehicle, if the policy excludes him or her intentionally.
In some cases, insurance companies may also offer named driver policies that provide coverage only for drivers specifically outlined on the policy. Colloquially these go by the name of junk policies because they don’t offer motorists many options following a car accident.
Legal Options Following an Accident With an Excluded Driver
If a person receives an initial claim denial because of an excluded driver, this does not mean he or she is out of options. An experienced attorney can help a driver receive compensation for any damages, regardless of who drove the car at the time of the accident. By requesting a copy of a driver’s policy, an attorney can review any inconsistencies in the coverage and request proof of any exclusions or exceptions.
Even if no loopholes exist in the insurance coverage, a person may still be able to file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim with his or her own policy. California law requires that all drivers carry UM coverage for situations such as these, which can provide compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other tangible losses associated with an accident.
Filing an uninsured motorist claim does not automatically guarantee compensation for 100% of a driver’s damages. In the best case, a motorist will receive compensation up to the limits outlined in his or her policy.
Technically, a driver may be able to file a small claim or civil claim against an excluded driver to compensate for damages. However, the defendant’s personal assets may limit a motorist’s recourse. Given the reasons that a policyholder may exclude someone from a policy, it’s likely that his or her financial resources are limited.
The Importance of an Attorney
Excluded driver claims can be frustrating, but drivers have legal options. By examining loopholes in coverage and filing uninsured motorist claims, a driver may still be able to receive compensation for any expenses following an accident. On the other hand, negotiating with insurance companies requires the guidance and experience of a Riverside car accident attorney. Drivers who receive such claim denials from an insurance company should seek legal advice from a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible.