Most states require motorists to carry minimum levels of auto insurance coverage, but some drivers choose to drive without insurance. When an uninsured driver causes an accident, it can create a difficult and stressful situation.
Besides being expensive, car accidents are often traumatic. An accident can leave you feeling shaken up and upset. It can be hard to think clearly and make good decisions in the aftermath of an accident.
So, what are you supposed to do when you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist to protect your rights? Here are some tips to get you started:
What Is an Uninsured Driver?
Before we dive deep into tips for dealing with an uninsured driver, let’s first make sure we are on the same page about what an uninsured driver is. An uninsured driver is a motorist who does not have valid auto insurance coverage at the time of the accident.
There are two types of uninsured motorists: Drivers with no insurance coverage and drivers with insurance coverage that is not enough to cover the damages they caused in the accident.
The first type of driver, those without any insurance coverage, are the most common type of uninsured drivers. These drivers have chosen not to purchase auto insurance or let their coverage lapse.
The second type of driver, those with insufficient insurance coverage to cover the damages they caused, are sometimes called underinsured drivers.
These drivers have auto insurance, but their policy limits are not high enough to cover the costs of the accident.
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in an Accident with Uninsured Motorist?
So, now that we know what an uninsured driver is, let’s move on to some tips for dealing with them.
1. Stay Calm and Don’t Panic
It is crucial to remain calm and relaxed when involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Once the initial shock of the accident wears off, you will be able to think more clearly and make better decisions.
If possible, move your car to the side of the road, so you are not blocking traffic. Turn on your hazards to warn other motorists of the accident.
If you can, check to see if anyone in the other car is injured. If they are, call 911 and ask for an ambulance. If the accident is serious, do not try to move the injured person yourself. Wait for professional help to arrive.
If no one appears to be injured, assess the damage to your car and the other car. If the damage appears minor, and both cars are drivable, you can move your car to the side of the road.
If the damage is more serious, or if either car is not drivable, do not move your car. Wait for law enforcement to arrive so that they can assess the scene and direct traffic around the accident.
2. Call the Police
Even if the damage appears to be minor, it is always a good idea to call the police. A law enforcement officer will document the accident and help determine who is at fault.
If you exchange information with the other driver and do not involve the police, you may have difficulty collecting damages from the other driver later.
Be wary if the other driver tries to convince you not to involve the police. This could be a sign that they are driving without insurance or are concerned about getting in trouble with the law.
In either case, it is best to err on the side of caution and involve the police.
3. Get the Other Driver’s Information
Once you have called the police and filed a report, you will need to get the other driver’s information.
You should get their name, contact information, and license plate number. If they refuse to give you this information, call the police.
Do not forget to get their insurance information. Even if uninsured, they may still have a policy covering some of the damages.
If the other driver is not insured, do not despair. You may still be able to collect damages through your own insurance policy, depending on the coverage you have.
4. Document the Accident Scene
If you have a camera or smartphone, take pictures of the accident scene. Be sure to get pictures of both cars and any damage to the road or nearby property.
These pictures can help document the accident and prove who is at fault. If you do not have a camera, try to find witnesses who saw the accident and can give a statement to the police or your insurance company.
Do not forget to get the contact information of any witnesses. They may be able to provide valuable information that can help you win your case.
5. Get Medical Attention
If you are injured in the accident, it is essential to get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if your injuries seem minor, it is always a good idea to be examined by a doctor.
Some injuries may not manifest immediately. If you wait too long to get treatment, the insurance company may argue that your injuries are not related to the accident.
Be sure to keep all your medical records and documentation of treatment, as you will need this information when you file a claim with the insurance company.
6. File an Insurance Claim
Once you have gathered the necessary information and documentation, you will need to file a claim with the insurance company.
If the other driver was at fault, you must file a claim with their insurance company. If they were uninsured, or if your damages exceed their policy limits, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance company.
Be prepared to provide all of the information and documentation you have gathered and a detailed account of the accident. The insurance company will use this information to determine who is at fault and how much they are willing to pay.
7. Do Not Accept Cash Offers from the Uninsured Driver
In some cases, the uninsured driver will try to offer you cash to settle the matter outside the insurance system.
This may seem like a good idea, as it will allow you to avoid dealing with the hassle of filing a claim and going through the insurance company. However, it is essential to remember that the uninsured driver is not responsible for your damages.
By accepting their offer, you are essentially waiving your right to seek compensation. If you accept their offer and discover that your damages are greater than what they paid you, you will have to pay for the rest of the repairs yourself.
It is always best to avoid accepting cash offers from uninsured drivers, as this could cost you more in the long run.
8. Hire a Specialist Uninsured Accident Attorney
The truth is that there are many car accident cases in which the other driver is uninsured. If this happens to you, it is essential to hire an experienced car accident attorney who specializes in uninsured accidents.
An attorney can help you crisscross through the complicated legal process and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. If necessary, they can also help you file a lawsuit against the other driver.
Do not try to handle an uninsured accident case on your own. The stakes are simply too high, and you may end without compensation.
If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, it is essential to remain calm and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your property.
Make sure to call the police and get the other driver’s information. You should also document the scene of the accident and seek medical attention.
Most importantly, do not accept cash offers from uninsured driver. Instead, hire a specialist uninsured accident attorney to help you get what you deserve.