What To Do If You’re Hit By An Uninsured Driver
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Being in a car accident is traumatic enough as it is and recovering from an accident may be even more difficult when the other driver is not covered by insurance.
UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE FACTS AND STATISTICS
According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), “nearly 13% of motorists, or about one in eight drivers, were uninsured in 2014.” A study by the Financial Responsibility and Insurance Committee of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators found that 82% of uninsured drivers claimed that they cannot afford insurance or that their vehicle is inoperable or not in use.
NO-FAULT VS. TORT STATES
Most states are considered tort states, meaning that the car insurance of the at-fault driver pays for the damages and medical expenses resulting from the collision. In a tort state, if you caused the accident and have insurance, then your insurance company covers the damage of others involved in the collision as well. However, if the other driver was at fault and does not have insurance, then the victim may be out of luck.
On the other hand, if you are in a no-fault state, this means that each driver would seek compensation for injuries and damage through their own insurance company, regardless of who was responsible for the accident. You may still sue the other driver, but your car insurance may cover you up to the policy limits regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
WHO PAYS FOR DAMAGES?
After an accident with an uninsured motorist, look into your own insurance policies. Some of the most common forms of coverage that may cover injured victims after a collision with an uninsured motorist include:
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Bodily injury coverage may help pay for your medical expenses resulting from an accident caused by an uninsured driver. In some states, this protection may extend to a family member who was driving your car or to your passengers. Property damage coverage may help pay for repairs to your vehicle after an accident caused by an uninsured driver. This form of protection is not available in every state. If you don’t already have uninsured motorist coverage added to your insurance plan, it’s advisable to add this provision in case you are ever hit by an uninsured driver.
Your health insurance may cover the medical costs associated with your injuries after the accident. After paying the policy terms, your insurance company may pay for the full cost of your treatments.
Recovery from a Third-Party
A victim may also be able to recover from a party other than the uninsured motorist for their damages. If the accident occurred because of a third-party’s actions, such as a defective brake that caused the accident with the uninsured driver, you may be able to seek compensation from the manufacturer.
IF YOU LIVE IN A STATE THAT REQUIRES CAR INSURANCE
Most states require at least a minimum of car insurance coverage to be carried by each driver on the road. Therefore, getting caught driving without insurance may lead to serious consequences. For example, some of the penalties for driving without insurance may include:
- License suspension
- License revocation
- Jail time
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN HIT BY AN UNINSURED DRIVER
Here are some steps you should take if you have been in a car accident with an uninsured driver:
1. Obtain the Other Driver’s Information
You should obtain the name, address, and phone number of all persons involved in the accident, including passengers. If there are witnesses, you should write down their contact information as well, so that you or your attorney may contact them in the future.
2. Call the Police
If the uninsured driver is being difficult by refusing to offer you any contact information, you should call the police immediately after the accident. Law enforcement officers may look up the other driver’s information and determine if the driver has current insurance for their vehicle. Police officers often complete an accident report that may be useful in a personal injury case against the uninsured driver.
3. Document the Scene
If you happen to have a camera or smartphone nearby, you should take pictures of the area in which the accident occurred. If possible, it’s best to try and photograph the positions of the vehicles involved in the crash before they are moved from the accident scene. Be sure to include street signs or lights, so that viewers may orient themselves and obtain a better understanding of where the cars were. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well.
4. Seek Medical Attention
Unless absolutely certain that you’re not injured, you should seek medical attention immediately after an accident, either at your local emergency room or by seeing your physician. While injuries may not feel serious initially, they often have the potential to develop into something much worse when left untreated. Remember that medical records may help prove that your injuries were caused by the car accident, so be sure to keep an organized record of any documented injuries.
5. Inform Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance company within 24 hours after the accident. It’s important to cooperate with them and tell them exactly what happened and the extent of your injuries. If the insurance company finds out that you were untruthful about anything, your claim could be denied coverage.
6. Consult with an Attorney
A car accident attorney may not only help with gathering your claim documentation, but may also help you establish liability and seek and negotiate fair compensation for your injuries. At Zinda Law Group, our experienced car accident attorneys have the knowledge and resources necessary to help clients build the strongest case possible and to seek the compensation they may be entitled to.
DO I NEED A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?
In addition to using your own insurance policies for accident coverage, an experienced personal injury lawyer may assist you in filing a lawsuit to recover the damages the uninsured driver was unable to pay out through their insurance. A personal injury attorney may:
Assist You in Determining Liability
An experienced lawyer may assist you in determining how much you may be entitled to for your injuries based upon each party’s percentage of fault. A lawyer may also help you determine who or what may be responsible for your injuries.
Assist You in Collecting and Organizing Evidence
An attorney may help you collect as much evidence as possible, such as names of witnesses and other parties involved in the accident, medical records and costs of treatment, and any photos of the accident scene.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement with the Insurance Adjustor
A lawyer may understand how much your case is worth and may assist you in conducting negotiations with the insurance company to help you seek a fair settlement amount.
Keep in mind that recovering a personal injury award may be difficult, especially from an uninsured driver. If a person does not have insurance, it is usually because they are unable to afford it. If the at-fault driver does not have money to pay for insurance coverage, then they also might not be able to pay a judgment.
COMPENSATION FOR CAR ACCIDENTS
Typically, damages for personal injury claims fall under two categories: economic or non-economic damages.
The two main types of economic damages are medical expenses and lost wages. Medical expenses may include:
- Ambulance transportation
- Hospital fees
- Costs of rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Costs for possible future medical treatment
Economic damages may also include lost wages, which represent the time you are off from work due to your injuries from the accident. Lost wages may include:
- Vacation time
- Loss of earning capacity
You may also be entitled to compensation for the cost to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident. This may include the cost of a rental car while your own vehicle is undergoing repair.
Non-economic damages are losses or injuries that are suffered by an accident victim, but are not defined in monetary terms. Non-economic damages may cover:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment
- Physical disfigurement
- A lowered quality of life
- Mental anguish
Note that some states do not allow recovery of non-economic damages from an uninsured driver but do allow claims for economic loss.
GET HELP FROM OUR CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
At Zinda Law Group, our Dallas attorneys have the experience and knowledge that has helped injured victims seek compensation after suffering an injury from a car accident, even when they were hit by an uninsured driver.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries from a car accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our car accident lawyers. We believe victims shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation after an accident, which is why you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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