Accidents happen to even the best of drivers. When accidents involve uninsured drivers, though, even a minor fender bender can become a major headache. Given the number of uninsured or underinsured motorists on the road, chances are good you’ll at some point find yourself involved in a collision with someone who fails to carry enough coverage to adequately cover the cost of damages. In most situations, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for damages. In crashes where the at-fault driver was not insured, things get a little more complicated. While it’s easy to panic in such situations, there are options.
12 of the fifty states are considered no-fault, meaning every driver must fend for themselves when it comes to accident damage, regardless of whose caused the collision. In tort or at-fault states, the driver responsible for the crash is liable for damages. In such states, your insurance coverage will help determine whether you’ll be footing the cost of repairs and medical bills stemming from your crash.
Like with any other kind of car accident, checking for injuries should be the first thing that’s done in a collision with an uninsured driver. Move vehicles out of the way of traffic if it is safe to do so and call the police to report the accident. Even without insurance coverage, exchanging information with the other driver involved is important.Get their full name, phone number, home address and their license plate information. You’ll need this information to confirm they do not have insurance and that the accident qualifies you for uninsured motorist coverage – if you have it.
Many states require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on top of your standard car insurance. It provides the insurance coverage that the at-fault driver should have carried. Unfortunately, however, filing an uninsured motorist accident claim puts you in somewhat of an adversarial relationship with your own insurance company. Though marketed as organizations that are helpful in times of need, insurance companies primarily exist to turn a profit. They will look for any reason not to pay out a claim.
Many people do not have uninsured motorist coverage. In such cases, you’ll have to file a claim against your own collision coverage. To do so, you’ll need to gather all the evidence you can that the at-fault driver does not have insurance. The more proof you have, the quicker your claim will be handled. While repairs to your vehicle are likely, your insurance company will be less willing to cover other costs associated with the collision. In accidents with uninsured drivers or uninsured motorist coverage, your car insurance company won’t be reimbursing for any medical costs stemming from the crash.
Filing a Lawsuit
Many people are eager to make the uninsured driver pay for the damage they have caused, even if they lack the coverage to do so. Even if you win in court, though, collecting won’t be easy. People who fail to carry car insurance are not likely to have the money to pay for the damage they cause in a collision. They rarely possess any valuable assets worth seizing to put towards your damages. Even if you take a person back to court to require the defendant to pay you, courts will recognize that you cannot get blood from a stone.
In some cases, however, the court may decide to offer up a payment plan option. While this may be initially satisfying, chances are good that the defendant will struggle to make payments and possibly even stop paying altogether. In such situations, you and your lawyer will have to go back to court yet again to try and compel the person to pay what they owe. It can take many years, if ever, to see reimbursement for your damages.
Proactive Ways to Protect Yourself
Every driver should carry insurance, but knowing how many do not can help inform your own choices about coverage. In a perfect world, you would opt into uninsured and underinsured driver insurance coverage long before ever getting involved in an accident. Though more expensive, this coverage will pay dividends if and when you end up in such a collision.
In some cases, though, hindsight is twenty-twenty. If you have been involved in a crash with an uninsured driver, talking with a car accident attorney can provide you with the insight you need to take your next steps. Lawsuit Info Center can connect you with local personal injury lawyers well-versed in the statutes surrounding car accidents in your area. While not every crash with an uninsured driver should result in a lawsuit, an attorney can offer you advice and legal options for getting your damages covered. Call (877) 810-4067 for your free case review today.