Imagine this: you get into a car accident, incurring injuries and having your car totaled as a result of the accident. Despite these injuries, despite the damage, one thing you may think to provide comfort for yourself is the knowledge that the responsible party will be able to cover the costs from your medical bills, your auto repair bills, lost income from having to miss out on work, etc. However, the last thing you want to find out is that the other driver is, in fact, uninsured, which is going to put a dampener on things. That does not necessarily mean that things are not going to go well for you, so we are here to walk you through the process of what happens in that case.
What happens if you are hit by an uninsured driver
As it were, the odds of the other party involved in the accident being uninsured are not incredibly high. In most states, it is illegal to drive without having automobile liability insurance, specifically to reduce the possibility that this kind of situation happens in the first place. However, just because something is illegal does not necessarily mean that it is going to prevent it from happening. The question is, how does it happen that someone is able to drive while uninsured? One of the more common reasons is that they simply did not care to even get a driver’s license, and thus, they can just as well drive someone else’s vehicle without having to provide their driver’s license and proof of insurance in order to show that they can legally purchase a vehicle. This situation actually does have a good route for the victim of an accident if this is what occurs. Namely, you can consider pursuing the owner of the vehicle and get restitution from them instead. Depending on the circumstances, particularly if they knew that the driver was driving their vehicle without being insured, their responsibility may be that much more. Another wrinkle added to the matter is if the driver is underage, which would entail that you should pursue restitution from their guardian(s). So while you may not be able to sue an uninsured driver in this situation, there is a path to getting the expenses incurred through this incident handled. In either of these circumstances, it can be a little complicated, so you are recommended to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you better understand and handle this.
When dealing with an accident, if you ever hear someone you are involved in an accident with say “hey, why don’t we leave insurance and the police out of this?” just recognize how huge a red flag this is. In all likelihood, they are either uninsured, or they do not want to get involved with the law for whatever reason. No matter which it is, disregard that and contact the police immediately so that you can get everything on record and get an unbiased third party involved. Getting the police involved can even help with any future process of trying to seek restitution from the incident, as the police report can be used to bolster any claim of wrongdoing from the uninsured driver (aside from the wrongdoing of driving without a license). In order to dissuade you from calling the police or getting insurance involved, they may offer you compensation on the spot. It may seem like a good idea at the time, as you may think that whatever they give you is fair compensation, but you may find that whatever damages to your car or your person are much greater and much more costly than you first realized. Plus, if you accept that compensation, it can be used against you, that you took this in lieu of an insurance payment that you may just no longer be entitled to receive. Ultimately, you want to get their information, if only to be able to contact them more easily. Any witnesses that could potentially provide verification for your recount of the events you should also get the contact information for in order to be able to get their testimony in a less stressful environment. Make sure to get photos taken of the scene of the incident, both in terms of your surroundings, the injuries you may have experienced, and the damage to both vehicles. As always, evidence is key, regardless of if the other person is insured or not, so make sure that you have as strong a case as you can get as soon as you can. Even if they are uninsured, if you cannot make the case when you sue an uninsured driver, all that will happen is that they may get a fine, which does not do you any benefit, so be sure to be as diligent as possible.
Once you have collected the information, you can provide it to your insurance agency so they can get in contact with the uninsured drive. However, some states are no-fault, meaning that no matter what, your insurance agency is responsible for covering your bills, so their lack of insurance is moot.