Anytime you are involved in an auto accident, it is important to get the contact and insurance information of the other driver(s). Often times, people drive without insurance. One study found that 14 times out of 100 an uninsured driver causes an auto accident. If you are involved with one of the many people who are driving without insurance, it can be much harder to recover your damages. Some of your options are listed below.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage can be added to your auto insurance policy. Uninsured motorist coverage will pay for bodily injuries that you or your passengers suffer if you are involved in an accident with a driver who doesn't have insurance. It can also apply in hit and run situations. This coverage will provide a way to recover damages that you suffer from an accident with a driver who has no insurance and it is recommended that you purchase this type of coverage.
What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Similar to uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage will pay for injuries sustained with a driver who has inadequate insurance. In the event that the driver you are involved in an accident with doesn't have enough coverage to pay for your injuries, this coverage will help you recover for your damages. Uninsured and underinsured coverage are usually packaged together.
Can I File a Lawsuit against the Other Driver?
If you are involved in an accident with a driver who doesn't have auto insurance, your other option is to file a lawsuit against the other driver. If you live in a no fault state, this will not be an option. This is because in no fault states, you are responsible for paying for the costs of your own damages. In these states it will not matter whether the other driver has insurance because your insurance is supposed to pay for your damages. If you live in an at fault state, you will be able to collect damages only if the other driver is at fault.
How Do I Recover my Damages through a Lawsuit?
If you file a lawsuit, there will be a court proceeding. This will determine whether the other driver was at fault and if so what damages s/he must pay to you. The court will issue an order or judgment instructing the other driver what amount to pay. Each state has laws regulating the award of damages and your state's Department of Motor vehicles or Department of Transportation may step in if the other driver defaults on paying your damages.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as a part of your auto insurance package you probably won't need a lawyer, unless your insurance company is reluctant to pay you or gives you other trouble. If you feel you have to file a lawsuit against the other driver, an experienced auto accident lawyer can assist you in the complicated legal process.