Car accidents are a fact of life. Statistics show that 30 percent of all drivers will be involved in at least one car accident during their lifetime. In most cases, drivers have insurance to take care of the bill when they are involved in an accident. However, not all drivers keep their insurance up-to-date and that poses a problem when it comes to getting your medical bills paid. Below is an overview of personal injury law and what to do if the at fault driver does not have insurance to cover your damages and medical expenses.
No Fault States
If you live in a no fault state, you may not be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. In no fault states, drivers involved in accidents must use their own automobile insurance to pay for their vehicle repairs and medical expenses no matter who was at fault in the crash. There may be an exception made if you were seriously injured and have medical bills over a certain amount of money. The following states are currently no fault insurance states:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- New York
- Puerto Rico
In states that follow traditional negligence laws, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against a driver who is uninsured. However, it is important to note that even though you may win the lawsuit and a judgement is entered against the other driver you may not be able to collect any money. The majority of people who do not have insurance have few assets and financial resources, making it extremely difficult to collect on a judgement. The laws regarding car accidents are complex, which is why it is best handled by an experienced personal injury attorney.
What To Do After An Accident
If you have been hurt in an accident and the driver does not have insurance, the best course of action is to file a claim with your own insurance company. If your insurance company refuses to pay or if your injuries exceed the limits of your policy, it may be time to consult a personal injury attorney to discuss the options available to you in your state.
Depending on the laws in your state, there may be coverage you can add to your own automobile insurance policy to cover your losses in the event of an accident with an driver with inadequate or no insurance. Some states offer uninsured motorist coverage, which pays your bills if the at-fault driver has no insurance in place. Underinsured coverage is also available in select states and it covers your losses when the at-fault driver has insurance, but the coverage is not adequate enough to cover all of your medical bills and vehicle repair or replacement costs. Many insurance companies place strict limits on the amount of time you have to file a claim using this type of coverage, so it is important to speak with them as soon as possible after your accident. Waiting too long could keep you from recovering funds using unisured/underinsured motorist coverage.
What Can An Attorney Do For You?
Hiring an attorney may help you in many different ways after an accident. Experienced personal injury attorneys are familiar with the laws in your state and can help prove your case by:
- Requesting Copies Of All Police Reports
- Hiring Accident Investigators
- Speaking With Eyewitnesses
- Locating Potential Witnesses
- Filing Your Case In Court
- Representing You At Trial
If you are successful in your personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover funds for certain types of damages. Some damages you may be awarded are:
- Hospital Fees
- Cost Of Emergency Medical Care
- Ambulance Fees
- Doctor Bills
- Cost Of Alternative Transportation
- Lost Income
- Future Lost Income
If you have been hurt in an accident with a driver who has no insurance or inadequate coverage, contact a personal injury attorney for advice. After reviewing the facts surrounding your case, an attorney will let you know the best way to move forward with your case. While hiring an attorney cannot guarantee a favorable outcome, it may increase your chances of obtaining a settlement for your injuries.