If the other party who caused a car accident doesn’t have insurance, you can claim under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) or personal injury protection (PIP) policy. You also could file a personal injury lawsuit.
Getting in a car accident is enough to ruin your day. However, finding out the person who hit you didn’t have insurance makes matters worse. A car accident lawyer can review your policy and determine your best course of action.
Utilizing Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage After a Car Accident
As the name suggests, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is often your first option if you sustain injuries in a crash caused by an uninsured driver. You file this type of claim with your insurance to cover the accident. Because it’s not always required coverage, you should double-check whether it’s included in your policy.
UM/UIM coverage can help cover:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Like any other insurance policy, UM/UIM coverage only provides compensation up to your policy limit.
What UM/UIM Insurance Doesn’t Provide
While UM/UIM can definitely help provide for your bills, you might need more than it offers in certain circumstances. For instance, if you suffered catastrophic injuries in your car accident, your medical bills might far exceed your UM/UIM policy limits.
Even so-called minor injuries can come with long-term expenses. For example, whiplash can cause pain a year after the injury in up to 50 percent of sufferers, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
UM/UIM isn’t designed to be comprehensive but to cover gaps in insurance coverage. Although this coverage can prove vital if you’re in a car accident with an uninsured party, you may need to take additional steps to cover all your losses.
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Using Personal Injury Protection if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance
Accessing your personal injury protection coverage is another option if you’re in a collision with an uninsured driver. Like UM/UIM, PIP can cover some medical expenses and income losses up to your policy limits. Also, like UM/UIM coverage, you file a claim with your insurer to receive PIP benefits.
How Does PIP Differ from Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
PIP is often called no-fault coverage—you receive compensation through this insurance even if you were responsible for the accident. By contrast, UM/UIM requires proving that the other party in your accident was responsible. Thus, you could access benefits through PIP faster since it’s not based on untangling who is at fault in a car accident.
Another notable difference is that PIP doesn’t provide pain and suffering damages. This is the trade-off of getting compensation without determining fault. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you can’t seek pain and suffering damages some other way after receiving PIP payments.
Your Insurance Isn’t Always Dependable After a Car Accident
Since you would purchase UM/UIM and PIP coverage with your policy, it’s natural to assume that getting the benefits you are entitled to receive would be a straightforward process. Unfortunately, insurers don’t just fight not to pay claims from other parties. Sometimes, they also fight their clients’ claims.
However, you can hire an attorney to deal with your insurer if any of these situations apply to your claim:
- You are having difficulty accessing your benefits.
- You feel your insurance company is underestimating your claim.
- You suspect your insurer is acting in bad faith by refusing to honor your policy terms.
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You Can Sue After an Accident If the Other Party Doesn’t Have Insurance
Accidents caused by negligence—for example, drunk driving, speeding, running red lights, or texting while driving—could result in legal action, regardless of whether the other driver had insurance. Thus, filing a lawsuit with the help of a personal injury lawyer is a step you could take if the other party in your car accident were uninsured.
Personal injury lawsuits require the driver who hit you to have violated a duty of care to you by acting carelessly, making them responsible for all the losses related to the accident:
- All medical expenses, including past and future
- Rehabilitation and long-term treatment
- All income lost from the accident, including commissions and gigs
- Reduced ability to earn income due to your injuries
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life
For uninsured drivers, their lack of coverage means they would pay for those losses out of their pocket. Obviously, this can mean a battle to get them to admit responsibility and pay. Sometimes, they might admit fault but still try to pay less than your suit is worth.
You Could Pursue More Than One Path to Compensation After a Car Accident
Your case might involve filing an insurance claim to receive initial benefits through your insurer. Then, once your expenses exceed the policy limits, you can sue the other driver to cover your remaining costs and losses.
Unfortunately, some uninsured or underinsured drivers may not have the resources to pay out-of-pocket for your expenses. In those cases, your car accident lawyer can determine if another party played a role in your accident. For instance, a product manufacturer might share liability if a tire blowout or manufacturer defect factored into the crash. Poor road maintenance can point to a local government or private property owner.
Thus, even if the other party in your car accident had no insurance and couldn’t pay your expenses, you might have alternatives to cover your losses.
Get a Personalized Overview of Your Options After an Uninsured Driver Accident
Contact the team at Loncar Lyon Jenkins today if you were in a collision where the other driver did not carry insurance. We can review your insurance policy coverage, file your claims for you, and, if necessary, go to court to ensure you receive the compensation you need to maintain your household.
Our car accident attorneys will act as your representatives in this fight. We’ll ensure an insurance adjuster doesn’t bully you, trick you into accepting less than you deserve, or blame you for the car collision. The initial consultation costs you nothing, so reach out now!