Dealing with an Uninsured Driver After a Car Accident
May 31, 2019
Car insurance is not only beneficial, it is also legally required in every state in the U.S. However, t some drivers fail to obtain insurance coverage or are underinsured, which poses unique challenges. In these situations, recovering damages is quite different than in the typical car accident case.
Involving Your Own Insurance Company
In many situations, you can turn to your own insurance company if the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage. However, you can only do this if you have specific additional forms of insurance coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Some states require a certain level of Uninsurer Motorist Coverage (UIM) while others do not. Most states that do not require it force insurance companies to offer it, however, so you may have this type of coverage and not realize it. Nonetheless, you might have had to purchase this extra form of coverage separately for it to apply. Check your insurance policy language to determine if you have UIM insurance.
Generally, UIM coverage does not exceed your standard liability coverage. In other word, if you have $100,000 in total liability coverage per accident, that will be your UIM limit as well.
Another option that involves your own insurance company is collision coverage. This type of insurance covers repairs to your vehicle that are caused by an accident. It will usually apply if you are in a crash with an uninsured driver or were the victim of a hit-and-run. While this type of coverage is helpful for property damage, it does not cover injuries sustained during or after the collision.
Coverage in No-Fault States
If you live in a no-fault state, whether the other driver has insurance may not affect you as much as if you lived in a fault state. This is because drivers in no-fault states will look to their own insurance for coverage first. The other driver’s insurance only matters if the injuries are severe enough to go above your policy’s limits.
Your Other Options After an Accident
In most situations, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the other driver, regardless of whether he or she has insurance. This is true if you have a severe injury in no-fault states as well. However, while you certainly have this option, it may not be a practical solution in many situations.
People often do not carry car insurance because they cannot afford the regular payments. If someone cannot afford to pay car insurance, they likely cannot afford to pay for a judgment against them to cover your injuries either. While you certainly can take steps to acquire the funds through other means after you obtain a judgment (e.g., a garnishment or levy), such efforts often cost more in fees and time than you stand to gain.
If you have been involved in an accident with a driver driver who does not have insurance or is underinsured, an adept personal injury attorney to can help you explore all of your options.