It can be a small consolation to know that car insurance coverage—your own or the other driver’s—will likely go into effect and assist in covering medical costs and property damage in the often frantic hours and days following a car accident. But what if the negligent driver has no auto insurance? This essay will discuss:
- how uninsured driver protection can be beneficial
- the restricted function that PIP or collision coverage can provide, and
- why, even if you succeed, suing an uninsured driver is usually a losing endeavour.
How Does Coverage for Uninsured Drivers Operate?
You’ll probably need to contact your own insurance provider to cover your damages if you get into a collision with a driver who has no auto insurance at all. Uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage, which is typically an add-on insurance, is your best option. Only a few states require UIM coverage, whereas most states require insurance companies to provide it to customers.
Typically, the amount of your standard liability coverage cannot be greater than your uninsured motorist coverage. Therefore, you usually cannot carry more than $75,000 in uninsured motorist coverage if you have $75,000 in total liability coverage per accident. Find out more about the various auto insurance coverage options.
Despite the fact that most states need car insurance for registered vehicles operating on the road, many drivers still do so. The best approach to safeguard yourself is to make sure you have a lot of UIM coverage. To cover vehicle repair or replacement costs following an accident with an uninsured driver, you’ll likely need to purchase separate add-on coverage (called “Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage” or something similar). However, keep in mind that UIM coverage typically only applies to your car accident injuries.
How Does Coverage for Underinsured Drivers Operate?
Underinsured motorist coverage works similarly to uninsured motorist coverage in that it will pay for losses incurred in an accident with a driver who has automobile insurance but not enough coverage to cover your injuries as a result of the event. Your underinsured motorist policy, which most states do not mandate but is always a choice, begins to pay for the shortfall between the other driver’s insurance and the total of your losses.
The time policyholders have to file uninsured and underinsured motorist claims is typically limited by the insurance companies (frequently, it’s as little as 30 days from the date of the accident). As soon as you find out that the other driver does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance, you should start the process.
Utilising Your MedPay, PIP, or No-Fault Coverage
The fact that the other driver wasn’t insured might not matter as much if you live in a no-fault car insurance state where your own insurance policy would pay for your medical bills and certain other covered losses following a car accident. You usually can’t sue the other driver unless you sustained catastrophic injuries and/or racked up medical expenditures beyond a specific threshold in no-fault states. However, bringing a lawsuit in these situations can be somewhat pointless (more on this later). Find out more about no-fault auto insurance.
Drivers can frequently obtain “personal injury protection” (PIP) or “Medical Payments” (“MedPay”) coverage, which can be used to pay your medical bills following a car accident with an uninsured motorist, in jurisdictions that don’t adhere to mandatory no-fault legislation. You often don’t have to wait until you complete treatment before filing a claim with PIP and MedPay; instead, you can turn in your invoices as they are received. Learn more about how to use PIP or MedPay following a car accident.
What Assistance Can Your Own Collision Coverage Offer?
The cost of adding collision coverage to your auto insurance policy will cover the cost of repairing your automobile in the event of an accident, regardless of who was at fault, whether they had insurance or not, or if you were struck by a hit-and-run motorist. However, it’s important to keep in mind that collision coverage will only cover the costs of repairing your car (up to the limits of your coverage), not your injuries. Find out more information on utilising collision insurance for vehicle damage.
Do I Have the Right to Sue an Uninsured Driver?
In this circumstance, you are able to bring a vehicle accident case, but even if you succeed, it might not be entirely satisfying. There is no assurance that you will be able to collect the judgement (or any part of it) if you win a lawsuit against an uninsured driver. It’s possible that an uninsured driver has few assets, making it difficult to enforce the judgement.
Do Insurance Companies Pursue Drivers Without Insurance?
Any person who is legally liable for a covered loss has to pay the insurance company compensation. Let’s assume that Demetrius and Helena clash. Although Demetrius is obviously to blame for the collision, he is also uninsured. Helena makes claims with Oberon Insurance Company (her own insurer) for both the damages to her vehicle and Helena’s injuries caused by an uninsured driver. Oberon has the right to pursue reimbursement (or subrogation) from Demetrius, who was at fault for the incident that resulted in the covered losses, after paying out on Helena’s claims.
That is how it could go, but realistically speaking, an insurance provider is unlikely to invest time and resources in pursuing an uninsured driver for the same reasons we discussed in the previous section. It’s not worthwhile unless Demetrius has enough assets to deal with collection efforts or to pay a court judgement. Lawyers and insurance firms would refer to Demetrius as “judgment-proof.”
What if the other driver has insurance but is operating a car that has insurance?
The insurance policy that runs with the vehicle extends to your accident (and to your ensuing injuries and other losses) if you are in a collision with a driver who does not have auto insurance but is operating an insured vehicle. This is accurate unless the driver is not authorised to operate the vehicle, has been expressly excluded from coverage under the vehicle owner’s insurance, or some other stipulation is in effect. Therefore, in this case, the at-fault driver (an uninsured driver operating an insured vehicle) is actually an insured driver. Find out more about permissive vehicle use.
Do you require legal representation when suing an uninsured driver for damages?
This concern is somewhat incidental to the one we’ve already addressed: Should you sue an uninsured motorist for your losses following a car accident? As we’ve already mentioned, it isn’t usually worthwhile to try and con someone into giving you money if they are “judgment-proof.” The severity of your injuries and whether or not you can be “made whole” through other sources (such as health insurance, for example), among a host of other considerations, will determine your alternatives (and the best course of action).
Your best course of action following a car accident is to notify your auto insurance provider and inquire about the scope of your coverage. It could be time to discuss your alternatives with an accomplished auto accident lawyer if you’ve sustained major injuries that will not be adequately covered by insurance. Find out more about the assistance a lawyer may provide for a vehicle accident claim. Using the tools on this page, you can also get in touch with a car accident attorney in your neighbourhood. A local attorney will evaluate your case for free after you respond to a few questions.