Unfortunately, car accidents are going to happen. There is always a risk because more people than ever drive erratically or get distracted behind the wheel. Inexperienced drivers can also have accidents because they are not road savvy. One thing you can always count on in the event you are in a car accident is your car insurance and that of the other driver, which will pay for medical treatment if you are injured and for damages to your vehicle. However, if you are involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance, it can get tricky. In that situation, what do you do?
Report Accident to Your Insurance Company
The first thing you should do upon learning that the other driver involved in your accident is uninsured is to contact your own car insurance company. Ask whether your own coverage is enough to cover your damages and any injuries you might have sustained.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Of course, if you have a car accident with a driver who is underinsured or who lacks car insurance altogether, you will have to rely on your own insurance company to cover any damages. However, there is also the option of uninsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance coverage is offered by car insurance companies specifically to cover you in the event that you are involved in a car accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance but who has also been determined to be at fault for the accident.
It should be noted that uninsured motorist coverage is only required in certain states in the United States. In general, car insurance companies are required to offer the coverage to their customers in most states. Uninsured motorist coverage typically cannot exceed the total amount of your regular liability coverage. In other words, if you have $75,000 in total liability coverage for each accident you are in, you cannot have more than $75,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage.
Unfortunately, there are always going to be people operating vehicles who don’t have car insurance. As a result, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to purchase a sufficient amount of uninsured motorist coverage with your car insurance policy.
Sometimes, the other driver has insurance, but not enough of it. Underinsured motorist coverage can pay for the damages done to your car, but not for your medical expenses if you are injured in an accident with such a driver. This is also an option that can be added onto your coverage and helps to balance the difference when you have medical expenses.
You can also opt to have collision coverage added to your insurance policy. This comes at an additional cost but can be well worth it if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Collision coverage works by paying for any repairs that your vehicle may need after you are involved in an accident that is not your fault, including with uninsured drivers or hit and run drivers. However, it’s important to note that this type of coverage does not apply to injuries you might sustain in an accident because it won’t cover medical treatment.
Filing a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver
After you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you can choose to file a lawsuit against that person. However, you can only do that if you reside in a state that has fault laws as you don’t have the option if your state is no fault. In a no fault state, each driver is responsible for paying for their own injuries and damages no matter who is at fault for the accident. In general, if you live in a no fault state, you can only sue a driver, even one who is uninsured, if you end up suffering very serious injuries and have garnered significant medical bills as a result over a specific time.
If you live in what is known as a traditional negligence state, you can file a lawsuit against an uninsured driver. However, it’s important to note that even if you win your lawsuit and get a judgment against the driver, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to collect compensation. This is because drivers who are uninsured usually don’t have much money or even assets.
If you have gotten into an accident with a driver who lacks insurance, you need the help of a skilled attorney. Contact a lawyer at your earliest convenience.