It is common for drivers to exchange insurance information after an auto accident. Both drivers should have adequate insurance coverage to answer for the damage. But what if one doesn’t have any at all?
Have you experienced this type of scenario?
It can be unfortunate to encounter an underinsured or uninsured at-fault driver.
In this article, we will talk about getting involved in an auto accident by an uninsured driver.
Why It’s Important to Have Car Insurance
If you own an automobile, chances are you are paying car insurance regularly. This may seem like an added expense. But for convenience’s sake, it’s a necessary one.
From a legal perspective, whoever causes the accident, whether intentional or by negligence, is liable for the resulting damage. It is fair for the driver at fault to bear all responsibility for the harm done.
This is where car insurance comes in.
In the chaotic aftermath of an auto accident, car insurance provides some small comfort, knowing you will have the means to pay for the damages you caused.
Similarly, you take comfort in the fact that the erring driver has the means to pay for the damage he caused you.
Car insurance will cover the damage. So if you got rear-ended, the insurance provider would handle the repair bill.
It’s essential to have car insurance. It protects from potentially devastating car accident claims.
What Happens If the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Car Insurance
This is common. Some people drive without a license and insurance. Nevertheless, it can be vexing if this happens to you.
After all, you expect that the other driver has auto insurance because that’s the ideal thing to do. Unfortunately, it is only sometimes the case.
While we can only hope that the other driver is insured, it’s best to have a recourse when he isn’t.
You have two options when the other driver doesn’t have car insurance.
First, you can file a claim with your insurance provider.
If that isn’t available, your second option is to pursue an action in court to recover damages against the at-fault party.
How to Handle an Auto Accident with an Uninsured Driver
Getting medical attention should be your immediate concern after a car accident. Even if you feel all right and think seeing a doctor is not necessary, remember some injuries may take days or weeks to manifest.
If you can, obtain the other driver’s contact information, including his next of kin.
The next step is to file a police report. It is possible to have law enforcement officers at the scene of the accident. Make sure you make a formal complaint against the at-fault driver.
Your formal complaint should include crucial details of the accident. Get eyewitnesses to corroborate your story. Remember to get their contact information in case you need to get in touch with them.
It also helps your case if you take pictures of the scene. If you sustained injuries, document them accordingly.
In addition, any video surveillance nearby that recorded the accident can significantly boost your case. Even if the at-fault driver denies responsibility, there’s no escaping.
Uninsured Driver May Not Want to Involve the Police Officers
The uninsured driver will have to face the consequences of driving without insurance. He chose the risk of operating a motor vehicle while neglecting an essential requirement—getting adequate car insurance coverage to answer for any untoward incident.
However, the uninsured driver may want to avoid police officers on the scene. But it’s his fault, his choice.
What’s essential for you is to be compensated fairly. You don’t have to cover for them.
So it’s best to assert your right to seek damages because that’s what you deserve.
Dealing with an Uninsured At-Fault Driver
Sadly, you’ll have to assume you won’t receive full compensation for damages if the at-fault driver doesn’t have auto insurance.
However, there are steps you can take to ensure that you can still get fair and reasonable compensation.
Here are two options if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance.
Applying Your Car Insurance Coverage
Do you have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage under your car insurance plan?
It’s highly recommended that you have it. This coverage protects you if you get into an auto accident with an underinsured or uninsured at-fault driver.
Your insurance provider will cover the losses or expenses you incurred due to the injuries or damage sustained due to the car accident.
To file a claim with your insurance provider, you must present proof of your injuries or damage. If you seek medical treatment, attach it to your lawsuit.
If your insurance provider is not cooperative or devaluing your claim, speak with a car accident attorney. He can negotiate and ensure you get fair and reasonable compensation.
Filing an Action in Court Against the At-Fault Driver
If filing a claim with your insurance provider is not available, you can pursue legal action against the other driver.
This instance is where you need to hire an auto accident lawyer to see the best possible outcome. He will work in your best interest so you can be fully compensated for the pain and struggles you went through.
If you’re planning to file a lawsuit against the other driver, remember that there is a “deadline” to do so. Failure to file your case in court within the given prescriptive period will bar you from instituting the exact cause of action in the future. This means you will have the burden of shouldering all your expenses and losses.
The Financial Recovery you Can Pursue Against the Uninsured Driver
The court will consider these factors in determining the appropriate amount in its award of damages.
First, the circumstances of the car accident. The court will examine the extent of the property damage and the physical injuries you sustained.
Next, it will look into the financial hardship that it brought you. The court will probe into your losses and expenses.
Among the questions the court will ask are:
- Are you suffering from pain or mental anguish?
- How much did you spend on medical treatment of your injuries?
- Will you incur future healthcare expenses as a result of your injuries?
- Did you lose opportunities to earn a living?
- Has your earning capacity diminished?
- How much are you going to spend to repair your vehicle?
You could recover more damages if you lost a loved one in a car accident.
Should you Use Your Health Insurance For Your Injuries
This option should be avoided. When you do, you will likely incur more losses. That’s because your expenses will come from your savings. Everything still comes from your pocket, and none of it will be shouldered by the at-fault driver.
Do You Have Underinsured Motorist Coverage
It’s similar to uninsured motorist coverage. You can use this insurance protection to cover damages from an auto accident if the driver at fault is underinsured or uninsured.
What does it mean when a driver is underinsured? It means he has insurance coverage, but the amount is insufficient to pay for the damage from the accident.
Do You Have Collision Coverage
It helps to have collision coverage in your car insurance policy.
Collision coverage will take care of the repair costs of your car. This insurance protection is helpful if you sustained substantial damage to your vehicle and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance.
It’s also an excellent solution in a hit-and-run situation.
However, collision coverage only applies to damage to your car. It doesn’t apply to bodily injuries you sustained from the accident.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Underinsured or Uninsured At-Fault Driver
You can file a claim for damages against the at-fault driver.
However, it’s not an ideal first recourse. Ideally, it would help if you exhausted other remedies to obtain compensation.
Filing a case in court against the erring driver should be a last recourse because it is a potentially lengthy process.
Winning the case is one thing; trying to enforce the judgment against the other driver is another. Even if you secured a verdict in your favor, the erring driver might not have enough assets to pay for damages. This becomes another battle to tackle for you.
You could talk to the driver and ask for compensation for your sustained damage.
Or you could file a claim with your insurance provider and let it go after the erring driver.
Your Insurance Provider Can Go After the Uninsured Driver
After making payment to you, your insurance provider has the right to seek reimbursement from the responsible driver.
So you’re good as far as your compensation claim is concerned. It’s now the insurance company’s problem how it will recover the money it paid to you from the at-fault driver.
From a practical standpoint, your insurance provider might only pursue its claim from the erring party if the latter has sufficient assets. It will be a lost cause and a waste of resources on its part.
But what’s important is that you have your claim satisfied.
Are You Looking for a Car Accident Lawyer in Houston
Have you been in a car accident in Houston against an uninsured driver?
With our experience, we can get you the best possible outcome in your case.