Under the law, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance on their vehicles. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the law, and this can put you at risk of potentially costly vehicle repair and medical bills in the event of an auto accident. If you have been in an accident with an uninsured driver, a Los Angeles car accident attorney can help you get the settlement you deserve.
What to Do After Being Hit by an Uninsured Driver
Ideally, when you are involved in an accident, it is the other driver who is at fault and his insurance will pay for your bodily injuries and property damage. In the case of an uninsured driver, you are faced with a few options:
- Your own insurance can pay for the vehicle damage and medical expenses
- You can pay for the costs out of your own pocket
- You can sue the at-fault driver for the money you are owed
- In many cases, you may end up doing a combination of the three
- Using Your Own Insurance to Cover the Damages Resulting from the Accident
If you are wondering what to do after being hit by an uninsured driver, speaking with an attorney should be your first step. However, if you do not want to be represented, you will need to call your insurance company to open a claim. During that call you will need to report the accident, as well as all the property damages and bodily injuries you may have received.
If your car insurance has collision coverage, such will pay for the damage sustained by your vehicle. You will be responsible for any deductible that your coverage has.
For example, if you have collision coverage with a $500 deductible, you are responsible for the first $500 of your repairs. The insurance company will cover the rest.
You may also carry uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage on your vehicle. This insurance is required in some states but offered nearly everywhere. UIM generally has a lower deductible than collision, providing you with a lower out-of-pocket cost for repairs.
When the accident results in bodily injuries, the uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI) can help pay for medical expenses after an accident. Other first-party medical coverages like personal injury protection (PIP) can be of help as well.
Ensuring Proper Coverage
However, it is possible that you don’t have sufficient coverage on your own vehicle to compensate for the full cost of an accident with an uninsured driver. You may also wish to be reimbursed for your deductible and for your out-of-pocket expenses.
In this case, a lawsuit filed against the at-fault uninsured driver can be the solution.
How to Sue an Uninsured Driver?
When an insurance company is involved in an accident claim, it will often pursue the at-fault driver in court to recover the money it has lost. You can do the same. Filing a lawsuit for car damage and injuries allows you to receive the money you deserve without relying on an insurance company to cover the bill. It also allows you to receive restitution for things like pain and suffering, which an insurance company may not cover.
Depending on where you live, your ability to file a lawsuit against an at-fault uninsured driver will vary. Some states are no-fault states, meaning that a driver’s own insurance is meant to cover his or her own vehicle damage and bodily injuries. If you live in one of these states, you may only be able to sue for excessive costs, such as very high medical bills following a serious accident. In all other states, you have more freedom to pursue am action against the responsible party.
The Filing Process
Car accident lawsuits are filed in small claims court where the details of the situation are presented to a judge. The judge will make a ruling based on this information and a court order will be made for the at-fault party to pay damages to the claimant.
Making the Right Decision
However, it’s important to remember that a judgment against a driver does not always mean that the driver will be able to pay. Collecting from an uninsured driver can be a challenge as lack of financial resources is one reason that people are without insurance in the first place. Nevertheless, if you are facing major expenses as a result of a car accident that was not your fault, pursuing the at-fault driver in court may still be the best choice.
Do You Need Help Taking an Uninsured Driver to Court?
An experienced attorney can help you understand your options and walk you through how to sue an uninsured driver. Your car accident attorney will work to protect your interests and fight for a fair settlement, whether you are sueing for car damage or seeking restitution for injuries.
To learn more about our accident lawyers, or to schedule a consultation with a car accident attorney, call us today!
Your free, first-time, no-obligation consultation with a licensed Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney regarding your unique situation is available by calling:
(818) 797-7900 Monday-Sunday, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
— Jack Ter-Saakyan, Esq.
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