Car accidents often result in expensive repairs and medical bills. Many states allow the sharing of costs between drivers, with the at-fault person carrying most of the financial responsibility. However, when an at-fault operator is uninsured, the restitution process becomes muddied and confusing. Fortunately, depending on your state’s regulations, you may still be eligible for compensation, regardless of the insurance status of the at-fault driver.
- Understand Tort or No-Fault State
Not every state believes in at-fault procedures; these states identify as no-fault jurisdictions. In these areas, each driver is responsible for the damage to their vehicle, regardless of who caused the collision. Only twelve states are no-fault, which means the other 38 follow tort law. In tort or at-fault states, the liable driver is responsible for a portion or all of the damages.
- Determine Fault
Before you can file a claim against an uninsured driver, you must determine fault. If you are at-fault, there is no need to pursue legal action, but if the other driver is responsible, you are within your rights to file a claim against them for restitution.
- File a Police Report
Always file a police report when you are involved in a car accident. You will need this for your insurance, and you may need it if the case goes to trial. Failing to file a police report leads to finger-pointing without facts. By submitting a police report, the police will investigate the crash and determine the cause.
- File a Claim
Once the police determine fault, you need to decide whether you want to file a claim. If the at-fault driver appears well-off, filing a claim is wise, and you stand a good chance of compensation. However, as the driver is uninsured, they may not have a lot of money, which means a lawsuit and claim results in no gains, making the process moot.
- Purchase Uninsured Motorist Protection
To avoid the panic of colliding with an uninsured driver, consider purchasing uninsured motorist insurance. Most likely, your current auto insurer has uninsured driver coverage available. While this special coverage may not cover all of your damages and injuries, the policy can help offset any financial hardship stemming from the accident.
A collision with an uninsured driver is not optimal, and depending on where you live, you may incur most of the costs. However, if you live in an at-fault or tort law state, contact a car accident lawyer, like a car accident lawyer in Woodland Hills, CA, to discuss your available options.
Thanks to the law offices of Barry P. Goldberg for their insight into what to do if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver.