What Happens if I Get Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
Under the law, all drivers are required to have liability insurance for their motor 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/her auto 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 policy 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.
Who will pay for the damages?
Depending on your state, there are two outcomes when you get hit by an insured driver. There are two insurance laws, no-fault and tort laws. The state you live in will determine the payment.
No-fault laws demand the cost of damages is split between the individuals involved in the accident no matter who is at fault. Therefore, your insurance will cover part of the cost even if the driver who hit you is uninsured. You can only sue the driver if there are expensive medical bills due to the accident or severe damages.
Tort laws demand that the individual at fault pays for the accident. Usually, the insurance coverage of an insured driver will pay for damages. However, if an uninsured driver hits you, there are two possible outcomes. You can sue the driver to pay you for damages out of their pocket, but it is unlikely that they have much in assets if they do not have insurance. On the other hand, your insurance will pay for damages if you have an uninsured motorist policy.
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.
Items You Will Need to Build a Strong Case if You Are in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
You will need different items to build a strong case after getting hit by an uninsured driver. Remember that you will need to work with a professional and experienced car accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve. Below are some of the items you will need.
If you sustained severe injuries from the accident, it helps to have all your medical records since they will prove how the accident affected you. This includes everything from the initial check-up to all the medical bills you had to pay because of the accident. A record of your medical bills is vital since it helps determine the compensation you deserve.
Having the information and details, including their contact information, of witnesses from the accident will help you build a strong case.
Getting a copy of the police report from the accident is vital since it will help you build a strong case against the insurance driver who hit you.
It is vital to take pictures from the accident scene since they will come in handy in helping you build a strong case. You should also have photos of the injuries you sustained, especially if they were severe.
Factors to Consider for Uninsured Accident Case Compensation
Determining accident liabilities is not always straightforward, especially because the injuries you sustain can create emotional, physical, and financial hardships. All of these factors and more can impact the insurance claim and following court cases. Listed are some of the factors considered for uninsured accident case compensation.
- Medical bills and health insura
- Emotional distress
- Loss of future earnings
- Physical pain, suffering and permanent injury
- Loss of wages
- Auto and health insurance
Statistics on accidents involving uninsured drivers
Statistics show that the number of uninsured drivers keeps growing, even though the law in most states requires individuals to get vehicle insurance. In every eight drivers on the road, one of them is uninsured, and there are about 1.3 million accidents per year, so uninsured drivers cause about 12.5% of accidents annually.
If an uninsured driver hits you, call us and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.
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 suing for car damage or seeking restitution for injuries.
To learn more about our accident lawyers, or to schedule a consultation with our law firm, contact us today for a free consultation!
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.
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