I'm 17 and have a provisional license, can I still file a claim?

by Christian
(Los Angeles)

Two friends and I were coming from the mall in my car. I make a left hand turn and an uninsured female motorist ran a stop sight and hit my car. I'm 17 and have not had my license for year yet, which goes against my provisional license rules.

Should I still file a claim? One of my friends is injured and so am I. The car has liability coverage, but the other motorist is uninsured. What can I do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "I'm 17 and have a provisional license, can I still file a claim?":

Christian (Los Angeles):

California is a third-party liability insurance state. That means if you are injured in a car accident because of another diver's negligence, and sustained injuries, you would turn to the negligent driver or her insurance company to compensate you.

Whether or not you file an injury claim is up to you. If you file an injury claim with your insurance company for your medical bills, your insurance company may determine the accident was entirely the other driver's fault. As a result, your insurance company may not hold the incident against you.

If you are concerned because of yoru provisional license, and your injuries and property damage aren't very serious, you might consider not reporting the incident to your insurance company and instead suing the negligent driver in small claims court. In California, the maximum or "jurisdictional" amount you can sue for is $10,000.00.

If you choose that route, you might first write a letter to the motorist and explain that if she doesn't have insurance, or decides not to pay you, you will sue her in small claims court.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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