If you've been injured by an uninsured driver, you may be wondering if recourse is even possible. Who will pay your bills and what can be done about your situation? Below is an explanation of the claims process in no-fault states, including tort states, as well as information on pursuing litigation and obtaining uninsured motorist coverage for the future.
The Insurance Claims Process
When you're in an auto accident, you'll be dealing directly with your insurance company. The way your insurance company handles an uninsured motorist who is at-fault will depend on a few things, such as the location and type of coverage you paid for.
In no-fault states, each driver files a claim with their own insurance company. Your insurance company is responsible for paying for damage to your car. You may be able to sue the at-fault driver if you've been badly injured, but this depends on the laws of your state.
In tort states, you're covered only up to the limit your insurance company will cover you. This is because tort states require the insurance company of the at-fault party to pay for both sides. If there is no other insurance company and you weren't at-fault, you don't have much in the way of recourse.
Some states do require that motorists purchase uninsured motorist insurance as part of their package. In the event that you're injured by an uninsured motorist, you'd be able to get more money to pay off your medical bills and make up for lost wages and other expenses.
If you live in a tort state or a no-fault state that allows you to pursue litigation of an uninsured driver after your insurance company has paid their part, you may be wondering whether it's worth it to sue. You have bills piling up, all as a direct result of the accident.
If you're considering suing the responsible party, it's always a good idea to consult with a car accident attorney. In most cases of uninsured motorists, they don't have much in the way of assets so suing them would just cost you more time and money. An experienced attorney may be able to obtain more information about the at-fault driver than you can on your own, and help you determine whether it's worth it to pursue litigation.
Now that you know the hassles associated with an accident where the at-fault motorist is uninsured, you may be thinking of what you can do to protect yourself in the future. As mentioned above, some states already require that motorists purchase uninsured motorist coverage through their insurance company. If yours does not, consider adding it on to your package.
If you're unsure what kind of coverage would be best, speak with an agent. They can help you understand the different kinds of uninsured motorist coverage as well as its limitations.
If you're the victim of an uninsured motorist, speak with your insurance company immediately. Depending on location and the coverage you already have, you may be able to cover all of your bills. If not, consult with a car accident attorney, one like The Jaklitsch Law Group, to decide whether litigation is worth it. Then, speak with your insurance company about uninsured motorist coverage in the event of a future accident with an uninsured motorist.