Can I make a Legal Claim if an Uninsured Driver Caused My Car Accident?
A traffic accident is a stressful ordeal, often resulting in lost wages, property damage to your vehicle, medical treatment, and the associated expenses. Discovering that the person who hurt you is an uninsured driver without car insurance after the fact literally adds insult to injury.
You’ll wonder what happens next. How will you be compensated? How is the amount calculated? Why does all of this suddenly fall on you, the injured party?
Unfortunately, car accidents caused by uninsured drivers aren’t uncommon – there are hundreds of uninsured drivers on the road every day. These motorists try to avoid the expense of insurance by signing an insurance contract, paying only the first monthly installment, and then, after they’ve received the insurance card in the mail, never paying again.
If you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist, don’t panic.
Property Damage [Comprehensive vs. Liability Coverage]
When you’re in an accident with another driver and the accident is the other driver’s fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance will provide you with a rental car and pay for either the repair of your vehicle or its value in the event of a total loss. This is because of the terms of the contract [insurance policy] between the at-fault driver and their insurance company.
When the at-fault party is uninsured, you have the choice of filing a claim against your own uninsured motorist protection under your policy or filing suit against the other driver directly. However, usually, the uninsured motorist is uninsured because they have no money or other assets to pursue. Personal Injury lawyers call potential defendants like that “judgment proof.” In other words, they’re not worth pursuing.
The good news for a party injured by an uninsured at-fault driver is that, if they have good insurance coverage, it is their own insurance policy that controls the value of the claim. In other words, the injured party has more power over their claim, not less.
How Much Car Insurance Coverage is Enough?
It’s important to choose a reputable insurance company and appropriate coverage values. This is why it’s irresponsible, in my opinion, for an insurance company to emphasize that they’ll “only sell you what you need.” State minimum coverages are often set at $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident. The choice to carry “only what you need” limits the value of your own personal injury settlement if you’re hit by an uninsured at-fault party. Uninsured motorist protection coverages usually reflect your bodily injury protection limits. People often think that the bodily injury protection limits you set only benefit a stranger in the unlikely event that your own irresponsibility injures someone. However, those limits are turned inward and protect YOU in the event that you are injured by an uninsured at-fault party.
Actions Taken in an Uninsured Motor Accident
Step 1 – File a Police Report
It’s essential to file a report immediately and make it official. Filing a report could be the most critical step of all. You might encounter the involved party pleading for leniency and “letting them go” since they don’t have the insurance policies in place. But remember – without a police report, you might deprive yourself of compensation.
Step 2 – Seek Medical Assistance
Potentially serious symptoms aren’t immediately obvious. You should accept the EMT’s offer of ambulance transport to a hospital’s emergent care department from the scene of the collision. Remember that if the EMT’s check you out at the scene and you decline transport, there is no charge and no record of that evaluation for your attorney to obtain later. Following an auto accident, your blood is full of adrenaline. You’re shaken up and all you want to do is go home where you feel safe. Your ability to self-assess is non-existent. Take the advice of the medical professionals at the scene.
Step 3 – Contact Plaza Injury Law
Once you’ve made a police report and sought medical attention, it’s time to contact a Kansas City personal injury attorney. I have worked with hundreds of people just like you who have been hurt by uninsured drivers all over the country over the years. Contact me directly, or schedule a meeting to discuss your case.
It is too much for you to try to get back to work, adjust your daily schedule (picking up and dropping off kids at school and practice among other things), treat and get better, and go toe-to-toe with an insurance company. It’s a full-time job for me and I’ve been doing this for sixteen years. Consultations are free. Once you retain me, your job will be to treat and recover from your injuries. I’ll take care of everything else. I’ll negotiate with your insurance providers, and coordinate the benefits in place to support you throughout your recovery.