No one expects to be hit by a driver who has no insurance. Unfortunately, in spite of laws requiring drivers to carry minimum levels of auto insurance, some drivers will still attempt to drive without the appropriate coverage. If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of an uninsured driver, you may have a lot of questions—including what rights you have and what options are available for recovering compensation for your injuries.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
The first thing you should do is check your own auto insurance policy to see if you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. This type of coverage is designed specifically for situations where the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance or any insurance at all. Most states require that all automobile insurers offer this type of coverage, but it is important to note that it is not required in some states. If your policy includes UM coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company and they will cover the cost of your medical bills and other damages resulting from the accident up to the limits listed on your policy.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Uninsured Driver
If you do not have UM coverage or if it isn’t enough to cover all of your losses, then another option might be filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party (the uninsured driver). It’s important to note though that this person would need enough assets or income for you to recover compensation from them; otherwise, there would be no point in pursuing legal action against them as they wouldn’t be able to pay anything anyway.
Additionally, even if they do have assets or income, suing someone over an auto accident can be complicated and expensive so it’s best left as a last resort after all other options are exhausted.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
It’s also possible that an at-fault driver had some amount of auto insurance but it was insufficient for covering all of your damages (this is called underinsured motorist coverage). In such cases, you can make an underinsured motorist claim with your own insurer up to the limits set forth in your policy and then pursue any additional compensation from the at-fault party either through settlement negotiations or via civil court proceedings.
Being hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver can be overwhelming—not only because you may suffer serious injuries but also because there may seem like few ways for recovering compensation for those injuries. Fortunately, there are several options available depending on different factors such as whether or not you have uninsured motorist coverage and how much money/assets the at-fault driver has available.
It’s always best practice to consult with an experienced attorney if you’ve been injured in such a situation so that they can help guide you through each step and ensure that you get the compensation that’s rightfully owed.