Given the fact that up to 14% of all American drivers do not have proper insurance coverage, the chances are fairly high that at some point you will get into an auto accident with an uninsured or under-insured driver. Following is an outline of what you should do if you find yourself in such a situation.
Document the Scene
Documenting the scene as much as possible will make it much easier to claim compensation than it would have been otherwise. You can document the scene by:
- Taking photos of the car crash
- Getting the offending driver’s name and contact details
- Getting a copy of the police report
Visit the Doctor
It is also important to pay a visit to your doctor. Have him or her check you and assess what injuries you received (if any) as a result of the car accident. It is not uncommon for a driver and/or passenger to feel completely fine after an accident, only to experience pains and medical problems later on.
Check Your Insurance Policy
If you have uninsured or under-insured vehicle insurance, then your insurance company is responsible to pay for your medical bills and the damage done to your car. However, you should carefully check your policy even if you have not specifically taken out this type of coverage, as in some instances your insurer does bear responsibility to provide you with some sort of compensation. Getting compensation from your insurer will often be easier than getting it from an uninsured or under-insured driver, as drivers who are too poor to buy insurance will be too poor to provide you with any significant amount of cash.
Check the Offending Driver’s True Situation
If the other driver claims to have an expired policy, ask to see a copy of this policy and get the name of the insurance company that provided it. You should then call the insurer to verify that the policy is indeed cancelled.
In some instances, an uninsured young person driving a parent’s car may in fact be covered by his or her parent’s insurance policy. If you are hit by a young person, you may want to look into this, as it is an avenue by which you can claim compensation.
Getting Legal Help
If your insurance company or another insurance company is giving you a hard time, get legal help from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. There is a statue of limitations governing compensation cases arising from car accidents (in most states this is two years); after this time, you cannot seek any form of damages against the person who hit you.
A good personal injury lawyer can gather evidence on your behalf, speed up your insurance claim and represent you in court if the other drive and/or an insurance agency refuses to provide due compensation. What is more, you do not have to pay the lawyer’s fees unless you get compensation.