What happens when one is involved in an accident with a vehicle that has an uninsured driver? The results can be utterly catastrophic, especially if there are any passengers that have been seriously injured in the crash. Sadly, the number of uninsured drivers has been steadily increasing over the last few years. The IRC (Insurance Research Council) estimates as many as one in six drivers are uninsured.
Who are these uninsured drivers? The IRC says that they are predominantly men, and around half are under 21 years old. The reasons given for not having insurance included the high price of insurance premiums.
Uninsured Drivers and Insurance Claims
So what happens if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver? If you are injured and/or the victim of a “hit and run” then there can be significant medical bills. If you happen to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, it will pay up to 80% of your bills, but unless you have a specific clause that includes Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UIM), your PIP insurance won’t cover all of the additional expenses that you could incur. A safe minimum amount of UIM coverage for motorists to carry is an amount of $100,000/person and $300,000/accident.
Immediately after the Accident
If you happen to find yourself in an accident that involves a motorist without insurance, call the police. Even if there was not an injury in a car accident or the accident was minor, the police still need to come, because driving without insurance is an offense. What seems to be the problem in most cases is that most uninsured drivers don’t hang around too long after being involved in some sort of an accident. They know that they will be swiftly handcuffed and sent to jail. In worse cases, if they are an illegal resident, they will face deportation charges.
When involved in an accident, try to record every piece of information that could even be possibly considered relevant: description of driver, contact information of driver and passengers, photographs of car, witness information, etc.
Handling Your Claim
If you have to file a car injury claim, have auto injuries caused by an uninsured motorist, or if the accident you were in was a hit and run, you can file the claim directly with your own insurance company. Depending on whether you have coverage that specifically includes uninsured drivers or not, the process might be a little different, but generally, you’re filing a personal injury claim against your own insurance company. This might sound ideal – you’re paying for this insurance so it feels that they should be on your side – but your insurance company may try to deny the claim to avoid having to pay out to you. It is in these cases that having a body of proof that shows you were not at fault can be very important. Car accident lawyers, in this case, can fight for you on your behalf against an insurance company that is holding out on a compensation payment that is rightfully yours.