It can happen to anyone; you are driving down the road and suddenly out of nowhere another vehicle slams into you. You call the police and try to exchange insurance information. Then the problem arises, you have been hit by an uninsured driver.
The Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that one out of every six drivers on the road lacks insurance. New Mexico has the highest number of uninsured drivers. It is compulsory in 49 states and Washington D.C. to have automotive liability insurance to operate a motor vehicle on public roadways.
There are a variety of reasons people drive without insurance, including a lapsed policy. In a recent study, 82% of uninsured motorists responded they cannot afford auto insurance. That means they likely will not be able to pay out-of-pocket for your medical expenses or damage to your vehicle.
Be prepared by reading on for information on handling auto accidents with uninsured drivers.
The Scene of the Accident
When you are in an accident with an uninsured driver they may try to weasel out of having you call the police. They may even attempt to leave the accident without exchanging information. If the other vehicle shows signs of driving off, quickly take down as much information as you can.
This includes their license plate number, the color, make and model of their vehicle, and a description of the driver. If possible, snap photos of their vehicle, license place, and the accident scene. Even a photo of their vehicle driving off into the sunset is helpful.
The determination of who is at fault in an accident and the state in which the accident takes place are factors in determining how costs are paid. There are twelve states and one territory with no-fault insurance.
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
There are also five (5) states that at one time had no-fault insurance but it has been repealed. Those are Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Connecticut, and Colorado.
States that have no-fault insurance require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. In those states, each driver’s insurance pays for their insured’s medical expenses and property damage.
If you reside in any state other than those above, you reside in a tort or at-fault state. That means the driver who is at fault in an accident is the one liable for damages. If the driver’s insurance is insufficient or they have no insurance, they must pay out-of-pocket.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance
This type of insurance provides you with protection if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver whose insurance coverage is low. If you are not at fault for the accident, your insurance will cover the cost of your medical bills and damages to your vehicle up to the maximum coverage amounts on your policy. The majority of insurance companies will not allow you to have a higher amount of uninsured coverage than you carry for liability insurance on your policy.
File a Police Report
Filing a police report is important following an accident. Insurance companies may be skeptical about paying out on uninsured motorist coverage without evidence of the accident. Without a police report establishing fault, your insurance company may claim you are liable for the accident.
Do not think that simply exchanging insurance information with another driver is sufficient. They may provide you with false information or later change their position. When speaking with their own insurance company they are likely to claim innocence in the accident to prevent an increase in their premiums.
The other driver is less likely to lie to the police about whether or not they have insurance. Claiming a lack of insurance is a way to prevent their insurance carrier from knowing they are at fault. The officer will not insurance information in the police report. If the other driver has no insurance they will issue any appropriate traffic citations for operating without insurance.
Do Not Say Anything That Indicates Liability
When you are on the scene of the accident do not make any comments that may indicate you are partially or fully liable for the accident. This includes conversations with the other driver, witnesses, two-truck driver, or the police.
Seemingly innocent comments such as “I’m sorry this happened” may be twisted to indicate an admission of liability. Answer questions from the police honestly, but do not expand on your answers as this puts you at risk of inadvertently making an incriminating statement.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you suffer injuries as a result of the accident seek medical attention as soon as possible. Do not tell the police or anyone else at the scene that you are not hurt. You may decline medical treatment on the scene if there are no serious or apparent injuries, but it is better to decline on the basis that you will obtain medical treatment later.
If you seek medical treatment on your own, make sure you explain to the medical professional that it is injuries sustained in an auto accident. This will be important for your claims on insurance. Your car accident attorney will also need this information when negotiating with your insurance company or filing a lawsuit on your behalf.
Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible following your accident contact your insurance company and file a claim. The majority of insurers allow you around thirty (30) days following an accident to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
Your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical bills and the repair of any damage to your vehicle. The amount of coverage is only up to your insurance limits. It is important to understand and know your limits. If possible it is advisable to increase your insurance to provide better coverage.
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim under the collision portion of your vehicle. Unfortunately, none of your medical bills will be covered by your auto insurance.
It is important to keep receipts for all costs you incur as a result of the accident. This includes both medical care and repairs to your vehicle. Keep all photos, police reports, receipts, and any other evidence pertaining to the accident together in a safe place.
If your insurance company denies your claim, you need to contact an auto accident attorney. They will evaluate your case and assist you in negotiations or filing a lawsuit against your insurance company, the other driver, or both.
Legal Help When Hit By an Uninsured Driver
Being in a car accident is upsetting, and finding out that you have been hit by an uninsured driver can leave you feeling frustrated. The best solution is to contact a car accident attorney.
The experienced attorneys at Sweet Lawyers can review your insurance policies and medical bills to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We offer a 100% free evaluation of your case. Contact us today at 1-800-674-7854.