It is disheartening to realize that roughly 1 in 8 American drivers drive without any insurance coverage. Despite legal requirements that many states have requiring drivers to purchase insurance, many drivers continue to roam the roads without any insurance coverage to protect themselves or others in the event of a car accident. Additionally, some states do not require car insurance coverage to drive, leaving many individuals wondering what to do next if they were hit by a driver who does not have car insurance.
When involved in an automobile accident, it is standard procedure to exchange insurance information and contact your insurer soon thereafter to process a claim. However, suppose a driver hits you without insurance. In that case, you may not be able to get medical bills or your vehicle repair costs covered, even though the at-fault party’s insurance company routinely pays for these things. Therefore, it is essential to consider alternative options as a preemptive measure to ensure that you are protected if a driver hits you who does not have car insurance coverage. There are protections such as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, MedPay coverage, PIP coverage, and more that you may obtain to protect you from uncovered damages.
When involved in an automobile collision with a driver who does not have car insurance, the only recourse is often to look to your insurer to cover your losses. Uninsured motorist coverage does just that. While frequently offered as add-on protection by your insurer, other states will require it by law. Although car insurance is required by law for drivers in many states, many drivers will continue to drive without insurance illegally. However, it is essential to note that UIM coverage only covers medical injuries related to the car accident and will not cover property damage.
When living in a no-fault state, your insurance will cover your medical bills after an incident. Therefore, whether or not another driver has insurance will not be of as much importance in these states. In addition, the ability to litigate in no-fault states is limited, meaning that you will not be able to sue the other party unless you suffer from serious issues or incur medical expenses over a certain dollar amount. However, in other states that do not follow no-fault regulations, drivers may obtain personal injury protection or Medical Payments coverage, which may cover their medical costs after an incident with an uninsured driver. When utilizing PIP or MedPay coverage, you typically will need to wait until after treatment is finished to make a claim.
Another option to ensure that you have enough coverage to protect your assets is adding collision coverage to your insurance policy. Collision coverage will cover repair expenses for your car if you are in a collision, even if you were at fault. Collision coverage will also cover damages incurred to your vehicle from an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. However, it is essential to note that collision coverage will only cover the costs of repairing your car up to your coverage limits and will not cover medical injuries.
When a car insurance company covers a loss, they have the legal authority to seek reimbursement for anyone at fault. If an uninsured driver is involved in a car accident and is at fault, the car insurance company covering the claim has the right to seek subrogation (reimbursement) from the uninsured at-fault party that led to the covered losses. However, insurance companies typically don’t waste their time and resources pursuing an uninsured driver for the same reasons mentioned above. Insurance companies and lawyers often deem the uninsured party as judgment-proof.
If you are involved in a collision with a driver who doesn’t carry car insurance, but the car they are driving is covered, the insurance coverage covering the car will cover your accident, including any resulting losses or injuries. This will hold true except for the exceptional cases where the driver has stolen the car or doesn’t have permission to be driving the vehicle. In most cases, however, an uninsured driver who is driving an insured vehicle may be considered insured.
A person who does not carry car insurance may be financially incapable of covering a judgment. Even if you file a claim, obtain an attorney, and go to court, you will waste your time and money. You cannot get money from an individual who is “judgment-proof.” However, depending on your injuries and insurance coverage, you may have some other options moving forward.
Essentially, the best way to protect yourself against a driver who has no insurance is to follow your state’s requirements. Many states will require coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists and liability insurance. Without uninsured motorist’s coverage, you may be left vulnerable to those 1 in 8 drivers who do not carry car insurance. In addition, UIM coverage will cover you if you or a family member is injured in a car accident due to the fault of an uninsured driver. When considering the costs of lost wages and hospital stays that may result from an accident with an uninsured driver, paying a little extra monthly to ensure that you are covered is generally well worth the investment for your protection.
After getting into a collision with an uninsured driver, the first thing you should do is to call the police. While waiting for the police to arrive at the accident scene, obtain as much documentation of the accident as possible. Take photographs, note as many accident details as possible, such as road conditions and approximate speed or anything else notable surrounding the collision, and exchange information with the other motorist. When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will take statements from all people who have witnessed the accident, including you, the other driver, and any witnesses. The police will also obtain your name, contact, and vehicle information.
The next step you should take after filing a police report is to file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurer. Property damage to your vehicle and any medical expenses you sustained after your accident may be covered up to your policy limits. It is important to note that you should file your claim as soon as possible. Many insurers will only give you 30 days to file a claim. Alternatively, you may file a claim under your policy’s collision coverage. However, it is essential to note that medical expenses will not be covered under this portion of your policy.
Finally, after a collision with an uninsured driver, if there are damages that your insurance claim has not covered, you may file a lawsuit in court or contact an attorney. However, it is important to note that a lack of vehicle insurance often indicates a lack of assets or solid income for the at-fault party. Experts suggest only pressing charges if you believe there is a good chance of winning the case. If you win and are awarded a judgment against the other party, this is only valuable if the other party has savings or assets to pay.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an accident with an uninsured driver, Tatum & Atkinson, PLLC can help. Contact us now by email or call 800-LAW-0804 to discuss the options available to you.