Car accidents are one of the more unpleasant realities in life, even when they’re not serious. If your car has sustained damage, those repairs tend to be costly. Normally, you can rest easy knowing that either your auto insurance or the auto insurance of the other driver will pay for those repairs, along with any medical bills incurred.
However, the process becomes more complicated if the other motorist doesn’t have auto insurance. To be clear, driving without a minimum auto insurance coverage is against the law. But some drivers out there are driving while uninsured, and it’s important to know what to do in the event that you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver.
Determine Who is at Fault
If you’re not already aware, you should look up whether the state in which you live is a no-fault or a tort state. According to Car Insurance.com, there are 12 no-fault states in the US, while the rest are tort. In a no-fault state, the driver pays for all the damages and injury they suffer regardless of who caused the accident. In a tort state, the driver who is deemed to be at fault pays for all damages.
If you happen to live in a no-fault state, the status of the other driver’s insurance doesn’t matter. But if you live in one of the 38 tort states, the process becomes more complicated. If the other driver is at fault, you will need to document this and gather evidence for your insurance company.
Uninsured Driver Coverage
Chances are, your insurance plan has coverage options for instances where you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist. You can file a claim and receive remuneration from your insurance company in the event that you’re in a crash with a driver without insurance. In order to collect on such a claim, you’ll need to prove to the insurance company that you were in the accident and that you’re not at fault.
However, there may be instances where someone may need to sue the other party. According to Henry C. Dailey Law Firm, “in some cases, you may need to sue the uninsured driver directly. In normal situations, you would instead file a claim with his or her insurance company, which would then assess the damages and who was at fault before offering you a settlement for your damages.” No one really wants to sue another person, but sometimes it’s necessary to cover medical or car repair costs.
File a Police Report
The best piece of evidence you can present to your insurance company is a police report documenting the details of the accident. Without a police report, it’s going to be difficult to convince your insurance company that your version of what happened is the truth. According to HG Legal Resources, “in order to protect yourself and your case, always file a police report, regardless of whether the accident is major or minor.”
Not only does a police report lend credibility to your account, but in filing a police report, you will establish the insurance status of the other driver. Some drivers may claim to be insured, but the only way to know for sure is for the police to verify this.
File Your Insurance Claim
With the police report in hand, you can file an uninsured motorist claim and receive payment from your insurance company for damage and medical bills up to your coverage limits.
One thing is worth noting: Insurance companies often have strict limits for how long after an accident a claim may be filed. Frequently, the figure is 30 days after the accident. Make sure to get your claim in within the time frame, or it will probably be rejected.
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