As if it’s not bad enough to be involved in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, if you find out that driver has no insurance, your problems may have just increased exponentially.
According to the Insurance Research Council, in 2019, about one in eight drivers on the roadways were uninsured. Some drivers have allowed their insurance to lapse due to the expense, while others drive a vehicle belonging to a family member or friend that they are not legally insured to drive.
So, what should you do differently once you find out the driver that hit you is uninsured?
Steps to Take After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
First and foremost, while you should always file a police report following a car accident, it is even more important in this situation. Even if (or perhaps, especially if) the uninsured motorist begs you not to report the accident you must do your best to ignore this emotional manipulation.
If you do not have a police report, you may not receive compensation for your damages, even from your own insurance company. Further, with no police report, it can be difficult to prove which driver was responsible for the accident. Finally, you could potentially face legal penalties for leaving the scene of the accident.
So, no matter what the other driver says, call 911 and report the accident. Give the police officer honest answers, but do not add unnecessary details. Never, ever accept money in lieu of calling the police and filing a report. The driver without insurance knows he or she could be facing hefty fines and fees, therefore, could offer you money for the damages to your vehicle. While this might seem like a good idea, at this point, you have no idea what your actual car damages or medical costs might be.
Make sure everyone receives medical evaluation and care and if there were any witnesses at the scene of the accident, make sure you obtain contact information for each one.
Contact your insurance company and let them know a police report is forthcoming. The best course of action is to speak to a knowledgeable car accident attorney who can handle all the insurance negotiations on your behalf from start to finish.
One of the following may end up paying for your accident since the liable party is uninsured:
- If you carry comp and collision (not just liability) on your vehicle, then your own insurance company may pay for the damages to your vehicle.
- Damages to your vehicle might also be paid by uninsured motorist coverage—if you elected to have an uninsured/underinsured motorist on your policy. Some states require uninsured motorist coverage, while others do not. Uninsured motorist coverage cannot be for an amount that is more than your total liability coverage.
- Depending on the circumstances and level of damages, your attorney may counsel you to file a lawsuit against the uninsured, at-fault party. If the reason the at-fault driver has no insurance is that he or she cannot afford it, its unlikely there would be anything to gain by filing a lawsuit. If, however, the at-fault driver has no insurance due to excessive DUIs or reckless driving charges, a lawsuit could make sense.
- If the at-fault driver was driving a vehicle belonging to someone else, you could have a case against the owner of the vehicle if he or she knowingly allowed an uninsured driver to get behind the wheel.
Since accidents with an uninsured driver can be much more complex, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced car accident attorney as quickly as possible.
Your attorney will need to identify all liable parties. If another party shares liability, then you may be able to file a claim against their insurance policy. Even if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, you need an attorney who can make sure that your insurance company upholds its end of the agreement.
Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers
If you suffered an injury in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver, there are ways you can still collect compensation. These accident cases are difficult and require the services of an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney. Our lawyers know how to get maximum compensation for our injured clients and their families. Let our experienced team of Atlanta car accident lawyers support you through this difficult time. We will handle the legal burdens, so you can focus on your recovery. Call 404-587-8946 or fill out our confidential contact form. Just call and JUST WIN.