What Happens if the At-Fault Party Does Not Have Car Insurance?
Being involved in any car accident is not a pleasant experience. Finding out the other driver is involved in the car accident without insurance only makes things worse.
There is no excuse for any motorist hitting the road without securing an auto insurance policy beforehand. Any individual who does that is violating the law and putting their fellow motorists at risk.
We hope that you never find yourself in that troublesome situation. In case you do, it is a good idea to contact a car accident attorney who will make sure your medical bills get covered by the auto insurance policy. This article by Baltimore car accident lawyer John Leppler’s personal injury law firm explains what to do if you were injured in a car accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance coverage.
What to Do Following the Car Accident
The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be chaotic. This is when you can make mistakes that could prove costly down the line.
For this part of the article, we want to lay out the things our car accident lawyer recommends you must do right after your crash involving an uninsured motorist.
Check for Injuries
Safety should always be your foremost concern following an accident. Check yourself for injuries and ask everyone else in your vehicle to check themselves out as well.
Note the Other Party’s Vehicle and Plate Number
An uninsured driver who is also aware that they caused the accident may not hang around at the scene of the accident. They may decide to flee the scene and hope that you cannot track them down.
Take action before they get a chance to do that. Pull out your smartphone and take a picture of their vehicle. Make sure their license plate number is visible in the shot.
If you have a pen and paper nearby, you can also write down the other car’s plate number.
No matter what you decide to do, act as quickly as you can so the hit-and-run driver cannot manage a clean getaway.
Call for Help
Whether anyone is injured or not, your next course of action should be calling for help.
Dial 911 and ask them to send an ambulance if anyone in your car is badly hurt and needs medical care. You should also request the presence of police officers regardless of your condition.
The police officers can investigate the accident and figure out what happened. Their help will be crucial if you plan to pursue legal action in the future.
Speak to the Other Driver
If the other driver is still at the scene of the accident, you can take this opportunity to speak to them. During this conversation, you can find out if they have insurance or not.
Upon discovering that the other driver does not have insurance, you should ask them to stay until the police arrive. Do not let them drive away.
Refrain from saying too much to the other driver at this juncture. If they ask leading questions, shut them down or do not respond altogether. They may already be aware that they are in a bind so they are aiming to shift the blame onto you.
End the conversation, so they have no opportunity to do that.
While waiting for the police to arrive, you can work on gathering some evidence. Take pictures of the vehicles and document the damage to them. Snap a photo of the other driver’s insurance card, driver’s license and license plate. You can also take pictures of the road as markings on them can help illustrate what happened.
This is also the time when you should look for witnesses. Talk to anyone who saw what happened and ask them for comments. Record those comments so you can share them with the police officers later.
Talk to the Police Officers
Speak to the police officers as soon as they arrive. Share your version of the events with them and hand over the evidence you have gathered as well.
Remember to ask for the police officers’ contact details before you leave the area. In all likelihood, you will need to talk to them again in the future when you have a clear idea of what you need to do. Note their contact details now so you can contact them later on.
Head to the Hospital
At this point, you did everything you can do at the scene of the accident. With all of those tasks out of the way, you can now head to the hospital.
Remember that some injuries people sustain from car accidents do not present symptoms right away. Some of those symptoms may not make their presence felt until days or even weeks after the accident.
Go to the doctor so they can examine you for any potential injuries. Undergo treatment for your injuries if doing so is necessary.
Contact a Lawyer
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is always a good idea if you are involved in an accident and have been injured. The assistance of a auto accident lawyer will be helpful in this situation because recouping compensation, including medical costs, when the other driver has no insurance can be tricky.
Contact a lawyer as soon as possible and explain your situation. Your lawyer should tell you how to proceed from there.
How Do You Recoup Compensation if the Other Driver Has No Insurance?
In a typical car accident case, you can recoup compensation for the incident by contacting the responsible party’s insurer. Negotiating with the other driver’s insurance provider may not be a pleasant experience, but you should still end up with your money at the end of it.
But what if the driver who caused the accident has no insurance? What can you do at that point?
Paying out of pocket for your medical expenses and repair bills is probably not something you are keen to do. Thankfully, you do have options to consider as long as you have been diligent with meeting your insurance requirements.
File an Uninsured Motorist Claim with Your Insurer
The state of Maryland requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. At the time, you may not have been too thrilled to pay for that policy. You will be glad that you did pay for it now.
So, what exactly will uninsured motorist coverage do for you? Essentially, the payout you are receiving from that coverage will serve as the substitute for the compensation that the other driver’s insurer should have given you.
Per the Maryland Insurance Administration, uninsured motorist coverage kicks in when an uninsured or underinsured driver injures you and/or damages your property. Uninsured motorist coverage, also known as UIM, gives you a way to claim compensation even if the other driver fled the scene of the accident. Auto insurance companies in Maryland combine uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage into one insurance policy.
The payouts from your uninsured motorist bodily injury and property damage policies cover the same losses that a typical liability insurance policy will. You can file an insurance claim for pain and suffering as well as other similar losses. If your claims are valid, your insurer will be obligated to pay up.
Send Evidence to Bolster Your Claim to Your Insurer
Insurance companies will not hand over your money because you asked for it. They are still trying to make money, after all.
This is when hiring a good Baltimore personal injury lawyer practically becomes a necessity. Your goal should illustrate to your insurer that your claim is valid. Upon doing so, they will have no option other than to honor your claim.
Together with your lawyer, start collecting all the pieces of evidence that are relevant to your case. Your lawyer may also need to contact the police to get their hands on all the available evidence.
With all the pieces of evidence now in your possession, you can send them over to your insurer. After examining the evidence, the insurer will need to give you a payout.
Negotiate with Your Insurer
Your insurer may still haggle over how much they should pay you even if you have successfully proven the validity of your claim. They may offer a payout that falls well short of the maximum amount they can provide.
Negotiations will be necessary if your insurer responds that way. You can approach your lawyer for more assistance here. Avoid stressing yourself out and simply let your attorney handle those negotiations.
Sue the Uninsured Driver
The payout from your uninsured motorist policy may cover the entirety of your losses from the accident. It is also possible that the maximum payout you can receive from your insurer is woefully short of covering all your losses.
Since you were not the one who caused the accident, the idea of paying out of pocket to cover the rest of your losses probably will not sit well with you. That is perfectly understandable. The good news is that you still have one more option to try.
You can sue the other driver.
Of course, successfully suing the other driver involved in your accident is easier said than done. Certain factors can complicate your pursuit of compensation. Let’s go over them in the section below.
Locate the Other Driver
Before you can take the other driver to court, you must first find them. There is a good chance they are maintaining a low profile right now, so locating them will be difficult.
To make your search easier, go to the police with your lawyer and request their assistance. You can also ask them to review the pieces of evidence in your case as they could help in your search.
Illustrate Who Is to Blame Clearly
The state of Maryland follows the principle of contributory negligence. That is an important thing to keep in mind because it can affect how they dole out compensation in your case.
Per the Cornell Law School, the rule of contributory negligence bars plaintiffs from recovering any damages if they share any amount of blame for the accident. It does not matter if your contribution to the accident is minimal. Contributory negligence will still prevent you from recouping any amount of compensation.
The other party is likely aware of that fact. Count on them to use that to their advantage.
They will likely spend much of the trial attempting to blame you. Make sure you and your personal injury lawyer are ready to fight back against those false claims when they come up in court.
Determine How Much to Ask for in Your Lawsuit
Lastly, you will also need to figure out how much compensation to ask for in your lawsuit.
The payout from the other party should cover all the losses you sustained from the accident. It should cover the actual and general damages that we discussed earlier.
Calculating the actual damages in your case is simple enough. You can reference all your bills and calculate their total amount. Remember, note the wages you lost out on due to your injuries.
Figuring out the total amount for the general damages is more complicated.
Working out the general damages on your own can be confusing. Instead of handling the calculations yourself, entrust them to your lawyer because they do this often. They should already know how to come up with the right number for your case.
Once you come up with the correct number, you can push forward with your personal injury lawsuit.
Insurance offers motorists security. Even if you are involved in an accident, you can at least take solace knowing that the other driver’s policy will pay for your expenses. Unfortunately, some irresponsible drivers do not live up to their end of the bargain, and they will neglect purchasing insurance to save a few bucks.
Do not lose hope even if the other driver has no insurance or does not have adequate insurance. There are still steps you can take to ensure that you receive the proper compensation for the accident. Contact us at Leppler Injury Law and we will help you obtain the compensation that is rightfully yours.