Car accidents are stressful events for anyone involved. A surefire way to make the whole process more difficult is to have an uninsured driver hit your car. Uninsured drivers are a legal nightmare and a drain of resources all around. To make the process of paying for your damage and injuries smoother, use these tips when dealing with an uninsured driver.
What Is an Uninsured Driver?
Most states require drivers to have at least liability insurance or another form of demonstrated financial responsibility in order to operate a motor vehicle.
For example, in California, drivers are exempt from holding liability insurance if they have a $35,000 cash liability bond with the Department of Motor Vehicles. They are technically “insured” by this cash. However, in cases with personal injuries generating medical bills or an expensive vehicle, this may not cover all the accident’s expenses.
While different methods of securing insurance have different results, this article is focused on completely uninsured drivers with no way of covering the costs of their driving.
Uninsured drivers are notorious for costly mistakes that they rarely are able to clean up themselves. If you have had an accident with an uninsured driver, proceed with caution. Here are some tips for resolving the cost of your collision.
Determine Who Is “At Fault”
If you have not already done so, make sure you can prove without a shadow of a doubt that the other person was responsible for your car accident. Gather documentation like a copy of the police report and receipts for any damages or medical expenses.
You should also have gotten the name and badge number of the police officer who took the report and any others at the scene of the accident. Obtaining the names and contact information of any third-party witnesses can also help you if this proceeds to a court case.
Compiling all this information is standard for any car accident, but if the at-fault party doesn’t have insurance there is a much larger chance you will need to pursue legal action.
Prepare for Legal Action
Uninsured drivers are a massive legal headache, so make sure the legal representation you get has experience with this type of case. Many attorneys specialize in traffic-related personal injury cases and they will know what to do when you are up against an uninsured driver.
Find a Way to Cover Expenses
If the at-fault driver is not able to offer you compensation for the accident, for the time being, you are still on the hook. Some auto insurance plans have coverage for Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists, but you might not have this. In that case, you will need to find a way to pay for your own medical expenses and repairs costs until the at-fault driver can make things right.
Beware of Bankruptcy
Even if you take an uninsured driver to court and win your financial compensation to pay off your expenses, the driver might be broke. Many times the significant financial burden of a lawsuit can overwhelm someone’s ability to pay. There are many cases where an uninsured driver simply declares bankruptcy and slips free of their liability.
It is important to not overextend yourself while covering the costs of your accident, if possible. There is always a real possibility that you will end up being the only one who pays towards the bills that may be stacking up. Minor expenses like cosmetic damage to your vehicle should be deferred until you are able to comfortably pay.
Check Your Own Insurance
It is always a good idea to comb through your insurance plan to see if you may still be covered in a situation like this. Some plans include Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage and you just might have overlooked it. Talk to your insurance provider about your options.
Now that you have dealt with the hassle of an uninsured driver, it is also a good time to check the amount of your coverage. You could be in a similar situation if you hit the wrong vehicle, like a sports car, and you are underinsured. The remainder could put you in a severe financial pinch.