Most people have vehicles and are on the road regularly in this country. The average home has at least one vehicle they use daily to commute to work, school, or run errands. That means there are a massive number of cars and vehicles on the road daily. That is why having insurance is a law, and drivers must keep insurance at all times to comply with these laws. Failure to follow the insurance laws in each state carries penalties and fines. However, that doesn’t deter some people from driving without insurance.
Whether it is financial reasons or simple carelessness, many people are on the road without being adequately insured. When they have an accident with another vehicle or vehicle, that leads to a big problem for other drivers who sustain damage to their cars or themselves. So, what can a person do when they are in an accident, and the other person doesn’t have insurance? Can they sue for damages, and what legal recourse is available to them?
State Insurance Laws
Every state across the country has vehicle insurance laws in place. And in most states, the minimum required amount of insurance an individual needs to maintain on their vehicle is a liability. When a person purchases liability insurance, they provide protection for other drivers if they have an accident and are deemed at fault. An example would be where the driver failed to break in time and hit the rear end of another vehicle. In that type of situation, the driver’s liability insurance coverage would kick in and provide payments to the other drivers so they can get the repairs necessary to their vehicle. In general, liability coverage can vary in amounts ranging from $25,000-$300,000. People who own inexpensive cars or vehicles over ten years old frequently choose to carry liability insurance only. However, there are other insurance options.
Full Coverage Insurance and Optional Add-Ons
If an individual is financing or leasing a vehicle, the lender or finance company requires the borrower or the person financing the vehicle to maintain what is referred to as full coverage insurance. This insurance usually required is liability, comprehensive, and collision. Insurance customers can also choose, such as hospitalization, towing, and roadside assistance. One recommended option that the insured party can choose is uninsured motorists. That means infinite uninsured drivers collide with their vehicles and are at fault. Their insurance policy will cover those damages if the other driver does not have insurance. However, this insurance is not required by state law or a finance company and is entirely voluntary.
You’re in an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist. Now What?
If you’re on the road and suddenly find that you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you may be wondering what you can do. Once the accident happens, the police come to the scene to document the facts and evidence. During their investigation of the scene, they asked for insurance information from both parties. If one party is uninsured, the insured party may be able to recoup damages to their vehicle if they carry uninsured motorist coverage on their insurance policy. In this instance, the driver with uninsured motorist protection would submit a copy of the police report and pictures or any other requested information to their insurance company.
If the claim is approved, the insurance company will issue payment for repairs or replacement of the vehicle if they deem it a total loss. The entire process may take some time, ranging from days to weeks, depending on the circumstances of the accident, the following investigation process, and the insurance carrier. You may be wondering if you can file a lawsuit against an uninsured motorist even if you have uninsured motorist insurance. The answer is yes. If you choose, you can usually file a lawsuit again with the uninsured party to recoup damages.
Circumstances Where You May Choose to Sue
There are a few different reasons individuals may choose to sue an uninsured motorist. One primary reason is usually the amount of insurance coverage the insured party carries. An example would be if they had $50,000 in uninsured motorist coverage, and the damage to the vehicle exceeded $50,000. In this case, the accident victim or the insured party would be liable for any damages exceeding the $50,000 in uninsured motorist coverage their insurance provider policy allows. It’s important to keep in mind that motorist coverage cannot exceed the maximum amount you carry for liability insurance if you’re uninsured or underinsured. So, if your liability insurance is $50,000, you’re uninsured, or underinsured motorist coverage can’t exceed $50,000. In some instances, the damages caused as a result of an accident can exceed those covered amounts, which is why many people choose to sue the uninsured motorist to help them cover expenses related to the damage to the vehicle.
That brings up another topic that could be a reason to sue an uninsured motorist. If the driver of the insured vehicle suffers injuries or permanent disability as a result of the collision, they may choose to use it to cover the cost of their treatments, diagnosis, loss of income, and other issues that arise as a result. When someone is involved in a collision, there is a wide range of medical expenses to consider in many cases. From the accident scene, one may need transportation to a local medical facility using various means. They may need to use an ambulance to get to a hospital. They may even need to be flown by plane or helicopter to another facility to get advanced treatments the local hospitals may not offer in the area.
These expenses can be astronomical, and the victim may need assistance paying for that type of transportation. From there, the hospital bills begin to start adding up. Anytime someone requires treatment via the ER or similar department, the costs are usually thousands of dollars. Those costs skyrocket once a person is admitted overnight or for intensive care treatment. If a person is seriously injured and requires treatment or hospitalization for an extended length of time, the price can skyrocket into hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes even in the millions. The average person would have an exceedingly difficult time covering those expenses, which is why it is sometimes a good idea to sue an uninsured motorist.
What Do You Need to File A Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver?
The first thing you want to do after an accident is collect as much information as possible when you’re able. Avoid giving the insurance company any unnecessary information. Don’t volunteer information that isn’t required. A good rule of thumb is to get legal counsel as soon as possible after the accident to avoid making any mistakes and help guide you through the process, so you have a better chance of getting a favorable outcome for your case. Some things you’ll need to have to file the lawsuit include the police report, photographs if they are available, any witness statements, and any medical documentation involving injuries or medical treatments related to the accident. Whether you collect the information yourself or your attorney collects the information for you, each piece of documentation is essential to help build a case that will provide a reasonable basis for collecting compensation for damages and injuries.
Suing for Property Damages
There are many cases where someone may choose to cover excessive property damage. This can happen when there is property inside the car that is valuable or essential. If the property is damaged and insurance won’t cover losses, sometimes the only course of action is to find legal representation to file a lawsuit. In some cases, these lawsuits are very helpful for getting the funds necessary to replace items for the required repairs. It isn’t uncommon for the insured drivers’ insurance not to cover specific items or provide enough coverage to repair or replace those damaged items. This can include cars, personal belongings, and other things. In some cases, insurance will cover injuries or the death of a pet in the car. If insurance does not cover those expenses, it can also be another source of a financial burden and pain and suffering. Sometimes it is possible to pursue legal action to cover the cost of those bills or any other damages related to the injury or death of a pet in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Suing for Medical Expenses or Disability
The goal is to have as much documentation and proof that you’ve incurred whatever damages resulted from the accident as well as any medical concerns or injuries. Keep in mind that if someone is seriously injured or permanently disabled, they can require treatment for the rest of their lives. Depending on the severity of the injury, these treatments can cost large sums and may not be attainable for the average person. An example of this could easily happen if the injured party is suddenly paralyzed and cannot care for themselves. In this case, they would likely have a huge hospital bill and additional bills for doctors, labs, tests, and rehabilitation.
These costs will not only occur right after the accident but will be in an ongoing series of expenses for the rest of the person’s life. Individuals who are paralyzed or require special equipment to help them with their daily hygiene needs will likely also need caregivers who can provide the services they need daily. These caregivers will be responsible for bathing, feeding, giving medication, and more. Additionally, those paralyzed individuals will likely need rehabilitation services and special equipment to help them get from one place to another, depending on their level of injury. Some individuals may need special wheelchairs, power chairs, or other mechanical devices to assist them with their daily needs.
Seriously injured or paralyzed people may also need equipment installed around their homes to help them get around or even get in and out of their homes. These costs add up and can be financially crippling for individuals who don’t have enough insurance or who do not have enough savings. When victims decide to take legal action, they may get a portion or even a large amount of the funds to help them cover these potential costs. Depending on the state, some individuals may sue for pain and suffering. These additional damages are awarded to those who can prove that they experienced substantial pain due to the accident or suffering related to the accident, whether it be mental anguish or other similar circumstances. By seeking legal action, and providing ongoing care and support so they can live more comfortably or at least have the equipment and treatment they need to survive and have some mobility or freedom. Individuals can possibly get the funds they need to provide ongoing care and support to live a somewhat normal life.
Finding the Right Legal Representation
The key to finding the proper legal representation for your individual case is finding a professional attorney who handles personal injury cases. Ideally, anyone injured or has significant damage to their personal property can reach out to a firm or an attorney who specializes in these types of cases. This is the best course of action for those who want to ensure they have the best chance possible to recoup some of the expenses they incur and help them with any financial issues they may face due to hospitalization, disability, or ongoing treatment. Remember that not all attorneys are the same, and they don’t all specialize in the same areas. The goal is to get the most insightful and skilled legal professional to help you with your lawsuit.
Why an Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer?
An accident and personal injury lawyer will know the ins and outs of the law in your particular state. These laws can vary greatly depending on the area where the accident occurs. Additionally, they know how to take the proper steps to deal with the insurance companies, other attorneys, and judges. They can also work directly with the victim to educate them and guide them through the process to help ensure they don’t make unnecessary mistakes and give them the best chance possible to get the money they need to take care of themselves, their damage, and property.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury or Accident Attorney
When you decide to seek legal action, you’ll want to determine your options for legal representation in your area. Perhaps the best way to find top personal injury and accident attorneys in your area is to do a Google search to see which options pop up on the results page. You can also ask acquaintances or family members for recommendations if they’ve recently gone through a similar situation. Once you have a list of potential candidates, you’ll need to filter through to find the options that suit your needs. When choosing an attorney, a few things to look for include their number of years working with those types of cases and their case success rate. You’ll also want to select a firm or an attorney that has been established in the area for a significant time.
When you visit the attorney’s website, look for information related to their history and specialties. If there are any reviews posted on the website or online, take some time to read them to gain more insight regarding what to expect from them. Reading reviews is an excellent way to get more information and prepare you to have a consultation. If you choose to have a consultation, in many cases, it’s free. You might do a consultation over the phone or in person. During this meeting, you can present the facts related to the case and any pertinent information. The attorney will ask questions to determine if the case is a good fit for their skills. They may also want additional documentation for review and may decide to meet once more to discuss the potential case further. Once they take the case, they can help guide the process, inform you about what to expect during the process have anticipated time frames for the settlement of the case.
Reach Out Today
There are many uninsured drivers out on the roads today despite the laws that are in place to protect other drivers. Having an accident is unexpected and can occur at any time to anyone. If you find yourself in an accident with an uninsured motorist, it is important to know what to do and which steps to take to get the best outcome for youself. Uninsured drivers need to be held accountable for their actions. Perhaps legal action is the only recourse to help cover expenses incurred from a collision or accident with an uninsured motorist. If this has happened to you or someone you love, reach out to an attorney today to get started on the case. The faster you act, the better your chances are of getting the funds and compensation you need to cover medical expenses, property damage, and more. Get started today and reduce the burdens you experience after an accident happens.