You’ve just been involved in an accident and are already stressed out. The thoughts of getting your car to the shop, having your injuries evaluated, and finding another way to work until it gets fixed are all running through your mind. Then you come to find out that the at-fault motorist doesn’t have any insurance coverage. Now, what do you do?
The laws that govern auto insurance policies in your state will likely determine your course of action on what to do when you are injured by another driver who doesn’t have insurance coverage. If you are not sure what type of policies are governing your state, you can always ask a local personal injury law firm. You must know if you reside in a no-fault or negligence state to proceed.
If You Live In A No-Fault State…
There are twelve no-fault states in the United States. When you are injured in an accident, no one is considered at fault. Rather, you simply contact your own insurance provider when an accident occurs. Your state mandated insurance policy will cover your medical expenses up to your coverage limit. You may not sue the at-fault party unless your injury costs exceed the serious injury thresholds set by the specific state that you reside in.
If You Live In A Negligence State…
Negligence states allow injured drivers to sue motorists who caused them injury. There are no minimum cost thresholds that need to be surpassed for a claim to be brought up. One key fact to keep in mind when dealing with an uninsured motorist is they typically do not have any assets or money.
This means that even if you go to a court of law and sue them for your medical bills, you may not have an enforceable judgment. Without any money or valuable assets to collect, it’s likely you will be stuck paying out of pocket for the expenses you incur. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to advise you on whether a certain case is worth it or not.
Check To See If You Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Remembering what type of insurance add-ons you opted for when you signed up for your auto insurance policy can be hard to do. This becomes especially true when you just renew the same coverage level year after year. However, in the event that you are involved in an accident where another driver is deemed at fault and doesn’t have insurance, you should call your agent to verify your coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage, also called underinsured motorist coverage, is an additional type of auto insurance coverage that you opt for. This add-on typically comes with two types of coverages. These include:
Bodily Injury Coverage – This coverage pays for your medical expenses that result from an accident with an uninsured motorist.
Property Damage Coverage – This coverage pays for the repairs to your vehicle when an uninsured driver hits you.
It’s important to note that both of these coverages come with maximum coverage limits. These will be outlined in your insurance policy and will vary from policy to policy. Uninsured motorist coverage will in no case exceed the amount of your standard liability coverage for your vehicle.
Check To See If You Have Collision Coverage
In the event that you don’t have the uninsured motorist add-on, you can still seek compensation from your own policy. That is if you have collision coverage. This coverage will pay to repair the damage to your car up to your coverage limit. However, it’s important to note that your own collision coverage will not cover any injury-related expenses from the accident.
Pay Attention To Reporting Deadlines
It’s very important that you contact your insurance company after an accident. This will allow you to not only understand what your coverage entails but also it will permit you to start the filing process. Many insurance companies put a maximum deadline on the amount of time you have to file an uninsured motorist claim. In many cases, this can be as short as 30 days from the date of the accident. If you don’t file a claim within this initial period, you surrender your rights to do so in the future according to your policy.