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How Do I Settle a Car Accident With an Uninsured Driver?

The aftermath of a car accident is steep medical expenses, permanent or temporary injuries, emotional trauma, and financial losses. While the law is supposed to ensure you receive an appropriate settlement after the other driver causes the crash, it may only sometimes work out like that. According to a report by the Insurance Information Institute, about 12% of all motorists are uninsured.

You might not recover compensation if the at-fault driver has no insurance policy. Instead, you may have to settle all the expenses on your own. Having uninsured motorist coverage would prove helpful in such a scenario.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

An uninsured motorist coverage compensates you for damages after a car accident with an uninsured driver. Most of these policies cover you, your loved ones, and your passengers in case of any injuries resulting from a crash with an uninsured driver. Depending on the insurance company, some also cover your car damages. 

An uninsured motorist policy is crucial because apart from the car damages and medical expenses, it caters for events that may follow after the crash, such as loss of income, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. Usually, uninsured motorist coverage is an add-on to your regular insurance policy. Since it is an add-on, it is optional in some states.

All drivers are required to buy at least the state minimum in states where it is mandatory. Uninsured motorist coverage is highly recommended even in states where it is not compulsory because driving without it is a serious risk. Without this coverage, if you are injured, and your car is damaged in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can be struck with massive medical bills and car damage expenses.

If your injuries are severe, you will also suffer the danger of losing out on several paychecks because you may have to miss work. Although these policies have limits, it is vital to match your limits with your standard liability coverage. Like in other policies, uninsured coverage limits determine the extent of damages that your insurer will cover. If the damages and injuries resulting from the car accident are beyond your limits, you will have to cover the additional expenses from your pocket. 

Uninsured Insurance Claim

Filing for an uninsured insurance claim is the first step towards receiving compensation after an accident with an uninsured motorist. For your insurer to accept the claim, it has to be viable. A claim is deemed feasible if the evidence you submit on the accident is proven accurate by the insurance company. If there are loopholes in your proof, the claim can be denied, and you will not get any coverage for your damages.

For your claim to be successfully filed, you need to present these documents;

  • A copy of your uninsured insurance policy.
  • A complete police report on the accident.
  • A copy of your driver’s license.
  • Your medical report and receipts.
  • A detailed estimate of the car repair expenses.
  • A copy of your car’s registration certificate.

Can An Uninsured Driver Be Sued?

It is possible to sue an uninsured driver if your damages exceed what your insurer can compensate. The possibility of an uninsured driver covering your damages due to the accident is minimal. If they do not have an insurance policy, their chances of having adequate cash to settle your damages from their pockets may be slim. However, don’t ever assume that an uninsured driver has nothing.

Look into their finances by filing a discovery lawsuit. A discovery lawsuit shows how financially stable the uninsured driver is. You might be shocked to find out that they are uninsured because they forgot to renew their policy with their insurer. Some could also be owners of valuable assets. 

If an uninsured driver cannot cover your damages, the court can enter judgment against them. This judgment prohibits the uninsured driver from buying something of value before settling what they owe you. If they purchase any valuable thing before compensating youyou’re your damages, you can put a lien over the valuable asset to act as coverage for your damages. 

How To Get a Fair Uninsured Motorist Compensation

A car crash, regardless of how minor it is, can leave you nursing severe injuries and car damages. The expenses that come with car damages and injuries can be massive. It is only fair for you to receive proportional compensation. Dealing with an uninsured compensation process can be time-consuming and exhausting. 

Apart from dealing with your insurer, you might also have to deal with the at-fault driver if you file a lawsuit against them. The best option to guarantee the proper compensation and ease when acquiring it is to hire a car accident lawyer. A reliable car accident lawyer will;

  1. Negotiate a fair settlement claim on your behalf.
  2. Help you understand your rights when claiming compensation with an uninsured driver.
  3. Help you understand what fair compensation looks like.
  4. Gather sufficient evidence to support your lawsuit if you decide to proceed with one against the uninsured at-fault driver.

To get fair uninsured motorist compensation, it is critical to take these steps.

  1. Take Photos and Videos

Pictures and videos from the scene of an accident are essential when filing a settlement claim with your insurance company. It is proof that the incident exists. Pictures and videos help to prove fault, which is critical when seeking compensation. Photos also show the extent of damages and injuries resulting from the crash.

Take these pictures from different angles, up close and distant. Include skid marks and any other marks that might have formed due to the accident. Document any traffic signs along that road and the at-fault driver’s vehicle make, model, and license plate numbers. 

  1. Call the police

Regardless of how minor a crash is, the police must be informed. Local authorities help to determine who is at fault, after which they fill in a report containing all the accident’s details. Like the pictures, a police report is a piece of good evidence that can go a long way in ensuring you get the settlement you are entitled to. 

In severe injuries, it might be difficult for medics to get to the victims quickly due to the bystanders. The presence of the police makes the accident scene more accessible to emergency medics and ambulances. 

  1. Talk to the witnesses

A witness can provide vital facts about the accident, making the settlement process easier for you. Don’t leave this step entirely to the police. If you are in good physical shape after the accident, gather the details of the incident from any witnesses and do it fast before they forget. 

Do not limit yourself to the number of witnesses you talk to. Speaking to many witnesses will enable you to gather more accurate information, which you can present as evidence when filing your settlement claim. 

  1. Take Short Notes

Never assume that you will remember all the accident details just because you were part of it. With time, little but crucial details may fade away. When talking to the witnesses, note the facts they share. Write down their contact information because you might need them later. Remember to include the names of the uninsured driver and the present local authorities and their contact information.

You might encounter aggressive at-fault drivers who may refuse to share their information with you. Inform the police immediately. If they are yet to arrive, take a photo of them secretly and follow it up with a brief description of their physique. Remember to write a short description of the pictures you take at the accident scene.

  1. Seek Medical Attention

Having a medical check-up after a car crash is beneficial not only to your health but also to your settlement amount. A medical report is vital in any settlement negotiations with your insurer. You will also need a medical report to sue the uninsured motorist for damages. 

After being released from the scene by the police, your next stop should be at a hospital, regardless of how minor the accident was. Most severe injuries do not manifest immediately after the accident. That is why it is crucial to have a thorough medical check-up, which must include x-rays, to be sure that you are not suffering from internal injuries.

Factors That Affect an Uninsured Motorist Settlement

Apart from insurance limits, some factors determine whether the compensation is due to you and its amount. 

  1. Who is At Fault?

If your liability for the accident exceeds 50%, your uninsured claim will not be viable. You will not receive any compensation for your damages. However, your insurer will compensate you if the uninsured driver is at fault. 

  1. Who was Driving Your Car When the Accident Occurred?

Every uninsured insurance policy specifies the drivers covered by the policy. Some only cover you as the policyholder, while others cover every other permissive person using your vehicle. Any damages resulting from a car accident with a non-permissive person cannot be compensated.