Let’s say you’re waiting for a stop light to turn green when suddenly you’re hit from behind, causing some damages to your car and possibly a whiplash. You pull to the side of the road to check the status of your car and have a conversation with the driver at fault.
Your car’s rear is smashed and you feel like a trip to a doctor is needed. The driver who hit you looks scared and panicky, and when you ask him about insurance details he has nothing to give you.
This is one instance you hope to never have happened to you, but you can be smart about it and follow these steps if you get into an accident with an uninsured motorist.
1. Contact the Authorities.
The first step when getting into a car accident, whether the at-fault driver has insurance or not, is to call the police. If you do find out the driver is uninsured, then calling the police is even more crucial, since their report will make the claims process easier and help get your expenses covered.
2. Get the Necessary Information.
You know by now that the driver has no insurance, but you still should get their information, including the car details and their contact info. You can also try and get the numbers of any witnesses. You will find it beneficial to have their statements during the claims process.
3. Don’t Accept Money.
An uninsured driver will likely face high fees and fines, so there’s a possibility he might try to bribe you to avoid legal repercussions. Be smart and avoid the temptation of giving in. You have no idea how much the injury and vehicle damages will amount to despite being offered a quite a good deal. It’s best to say no at this point.
4. Take Note of the Details of the Accident.
Make sure to get the model and make of the driver at fault’s car, the name and badge number of the police and the location and time of the accident. Write every little detail you think might help you get the claims.
5. Take Photos of the Accident.
Make sure you take pictures of the damages to your car and the driver’s vehicle as well. Take photos of the direction each vehicle was going and the license plate of the driver. You will find all this information handy when working with the insurance company.
6. Call an Attorney.
You have one more phone call to make, which should be a personal injury lawyer, such as the ones at Stern Law Group. We have the knowledge and experience required to build a solid case against an uninsured driver. Before talking to your insurance company, give us a call first to avoid saying something that could be used against you.
Information about Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In the event the at-fault driver in your car accident case does not have automobile liability insurance, you will need an uninsured motorist coverage to pay for property damage expenses and medical bills. You could sue the at-fault driver. The chances are slim, but maybe you were lucky enough to have an independently wealthy uninsured driver that can pay all your expenses and bills.
However, you have to be extremely lucky for that to happen. More often, people who don’t have insurance are financially struggling, so the smartest move to make at this point is to make a claim under your own policy’s uninsured motorist provision.
You already know that the driver at fault has no insurance, but in case this hasn’t been made clear at the time of the accident, the investigating officer will inform you about this. By the time you found out you’re dealing with an uninsured motorist, your next course of action is to make an uninsured motorist claim on your own vehicle policy.
Car Accidents and Insurance Companies
Insurance companies have certain procedures and protocols they follow designed to protect their interests in the case a client gets involved in a vehicular accident. One of the first things they do is send out a claims adjuster to investigate the accident. They will also try to contact the victim and get information as much as they can.
Sad as it may seem, but insurance companies are a business that will do anything for profit, so the moment they find something inconsistent in the acquired reports, you might end up receiving a reduced payout.
The investigation stage is where victims commit the majority of mistakes, but you can avoid giving incorrect information by consulting with an attorney first. A personal injury attorney will brief you about the whole procedure to maximize the payout you can receive.
Remember that the insurance company is looking out for their best interest, not yours.
To Sue or Not to Sue
From a financial point of view, suing an insured motorist is not a good idea because they often have limited funds. The points below regarding accidents and uninsured drivers may help you:
Some insurance companies impose strict guidelines as to how quickly you should file an uninsured motorist claim.
Your uninsured benefits cannot exceed the amount of your primary coverage.
You will find most insurance companies cooperative unless they come into a conclusion that you’re the one at fault.
In cases wherein the injured and the insurance company cannot agree on an amount, the case can be taken to an arbitrator, which is a more informal procedure with no appeals.
Instead of filing a lawsuit, your case will go to “Binding Arbitration,” and your case will be decided by three arbitrators.
Even without a lawsuit, you should still talk to an attorney after an accident. An attorney will make sure that your rights are protected and so you’ll know what steps to take should this happen again.
The sooner you take legal action, the better your chances of securing maximum payout will be.
Talk to our personal injury team at (877) 661-9900.