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Some car accidents are minor fenders, and all parties involved may agree to walk away without filing an insurance claim. However, other accidents can cause significant vehicle or property damages and even injuries that result in expensive medical bills.
Filing an insurance claim for these accidents is a veritable necessity for most drivers.
Unfortunately, many drivers are not properly insured per their state’s laws. Even without insurance, drivers may still be held financially liable for the damages they cause.
In order to obtain the funds that you may be entitled to, it may be necessary to work with a personal injury attorney and file a civil lawsuit against the driver.
Because car accidents can be so stressful and expensive to deal with, you understandably want to learn about all of your options related to uninsured drivers. By doing so, you may be able to follow the best path to achieve a desirable outcome.
Read on to learn more about auto insurance lawsuits and make sure to use our free insurance comparison tool above to compare rates today!
The Legal Requirements for Car Insurance
All states require drivers to take financial responsibility for damages they cause while operating a motor vehicle, and most states require drivers to purchase liability insurance in order to comply with this law.
Many drivers are not financially able to pay tens of thousands of dollars or more in out-of-pocket expenses after an accident, and liability coverage can pay these expenses on their behalf.
Some states even have strict penalties for uninsured drivers. They may actively identify uninsured motorists by comparing their own database of drivers against an insurance database.
Some penalties that these drivers may face range from monetary fines to the loss of a driver’s license.
What happens when the other party is uninsured?
Despite the penalties associated with uninsured driving in most states, many drivers still do not have the proper insurance in place.
This may commonly be because they cannot afford coverage or because their driving history is so poor that they do not qualify for coverage. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you should understand your options.
Many drivers have uninsured motorist coverage on their own car insurance policy, and you may need to file a claim on your own policy to get your expenses paid.
In some cases, the driver who hit you may have the financial means to pay for your expenses. However, if these are not options in your situation, you may seek funds to pay for your expenses by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver.
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Seeking Damages From the Other Driver
Because you stand to lose thousands of dollars or more as a result of being hit by an uninsured motorist, it is important that you understand the proper steps to take.
Everything from how you respond to the situation at the scene of the accident to what you do in the days proceeding the event can affect the outcome of this event.
– At the Scene of the Accident
Regardless of whether a motorist has insurance or not, you should notify law enforcement officials of the accident. In the case of a minor fender bender, they may instruct you to handle the matter between yourselves and to file a police report after you get back home.
With more serious matters, law enforcement officials can investigate the matter, determine fault, and create a police report at the scene.
In the event the other motorist is uninsured, law enforcement officials can document this in their report, and they may also begin to take action against the individual.
For example, the individual may receive a fine and may not be allowed to drive away from the accident.
– Review Your Own Coverage
Documenting the accident through a police report is important for several reasons. For example, it may document that the other party caused the accident.
Witnesses may also be identified and interviewed at the scene. This information can be used if you need to file a claim on your own coverage for an uninsured motorist event.
The information in a police report also may be necessary if you seek damages from the other motorist through a civil lawsuit.
Many drivers are not aware of the exact coverage types they have, so it is wise to contact your auto insurance provider after an accident even if you did not cause it.
The provider can help you to determine if your existing coverage may pay for some or all of your expenses. Remember that you may still have to pay your deductible and any expenses that are not covered by your policy.
– Hire a Lawyer
Even if you have uninsured motorist coverage, you may still wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other party.
For example, your own coverage may not pay for all of your expenses. You may want to seek compensation for your deductible, time off of work to recover, and more.
Through a consultation with a personal injury lawyer, you can learn more about your legal options and what to expect from a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that a civil lawsuit may be settled out of court, or it may result in an official judgment against the other party.
However, if that individual does not have the financial means to pay the judgment, you still may not obtain funds for several years or longer.
Update Your Coverage to Protect Yourself Against Uninsured Motorists
As you can see, being hit by an uninsured motorist can be financially devastating. However, auto coverage is available to help you minimize your out-of-pocket expenses in this type of situation.
Now is a great time to review your current policy and to update your coverage types and limits. By adding uninsured motorist coverage to your policy, you can enjoy greater protection in a worst-case situation.
Reviewing and updating coverage every six months is a smart idea. This will ensure that you always have the ideal amount of car insurance coverage for your needs and will help you to save money on your premium.
If you have not reviewed your coverage recently, now is a great time to do so. Be sure to shop for new coverage with different providers as well to identify potentially lower rates.
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