All you need to know after an accident with an uninsured vehicle
Way too many people jump to the conclusion that they’re “out of luck,” after they’re injured in an accident with a car that’s uninsured. It’s silly to jump to this conclusion because there are many ways to collect compensation in these cases if you know what to do. Whether it’s a hit and run, a canceled policy or a stolen vehicle, there’s usually some applicable insurance policy that will cover the loss.
1. Hire a Specialist Uninsured Accident Attorney
Run of the mill lawyers aren’t always aware of the laws in their states that apply to uninsured motorist accidents. That’s why you need to hire an experienced uninsured car accident attorney for this type of case. An uninsured car accident attorney has extra training and experience handling traffic accident cases where one or more cars lack insurance. This can include pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, two car collisions, multi-car collisions, hit and runs with plate numbers, hit and runs without plate numbers and other scenarios. It’s important to take action quickly – SEE BELOW.
2. Watch For Short Time Limits
Experienced uninsured car accident attorneys will have knowledge of state, local and federal insurance requirements that provide coverage for people injured in accidents involving uninsured vehicles. Uninsured motorist claims can have tight time limits, so it’s important to contact an uninsured car accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident. Once you’ve blown deadlines, you can be out of luck. There are many types of compensation – SEE BELOW
3. Check for Medical and Lost Earnings Coverage
Even if the guy that caused the accident is uninsured, there’s a good chance that you are still entitled to first party benefits to pay your medical bills and reimburse you for lost earnings caused by the accident. This is because many states require driver’s to carry “personal injury protection” (PIP) that is commonly known as “no-fault coverage.”
If you’re in the “course of your employment,” such as making a delivery or driving a taxi, workers compensation insurance will usually cover first party benefits. For pedestrians and bicyclists that are hit by uninsured motorists, some states have laws that force payment of these first party benefits by the company that insures a vehicle owned by a relative in the household. This is known as a “household policy.”
Some states have funds that pool contributions from insurance companies licensed to do business in the state to pay first party benefits to victims of uninsured drivers. An experienced uninsured car accident attorney will leave no stone unturned to get you first party benefits whenever possible.
4. Don’t Bother Suing Uninsured Drivers and Owners
It’s technically possible to proceed with a lawsuit against the uninsured driver and/or owner, but experienced uninsured car accident attorneys know that this would likely be a waste of time and money. Trials are expensive and time consuming, and when there is no insurance to cover a verdict, it’s virtually impossible to collect a judgment. This is because during the course of the proceedings most defendant’s will find ways to hide their assets, making most judgments against uninsured parties un-collectable. The laws of many states recognize these facts and provide ways to collect compensation through uninsured motorist laws and regulations. There’s a much better way to handle these claims – SEE BELOW.
5. Look For Uninsured Motorist Coverage
The first place to look for coverage for pain and suffering, lost future earnings and other negligence claims for traffic accidents are the uninsured motorist provisions of many insurance policies. Some states require this coverage for all vehicle owners, but many people carry this insurance even if it’s not required. If you’re driving your own car and are hit by an uninsured vehicle, the first place to look is your own policy to see if you have this coverage. If you’re a pedestrian or a bicyclist hit by a car, but have your own car, this policy may have uninsured motorist protection that covers your loss. If you don’t have a car, there may be a “household policy” or a fund in your state to cover compensation for your accident. NEVER delay reporting the accident – HERE’S WHY!
6. Accidents Must Be Reported Promptly
Most states require prompt reporting of hit and run accidents, usually within 24 or 48 hours. There are also short timetables for reporting hit and run and uninsured motorist claims to insurance companies. If you fail to report a case promptly, you can be out of luck. After reporting an accident with an uninsured vehicle, you do need to be patient – HERE’S WHY.
7. An Investigation Can Take Weeks or Months
For hit and runs with no plate number, most insurance companies will quickly cover the loss if the police cannot find the offender. Cases where there is a plate number, lapsed insurance or a preliminary report of “no insurance” will take much longer to investigate. For example, sometimes a police report will indicate that there is “no insurance,” but that’s just because the driver didn’t have the information on hand, and there actually is insurance in effect.
On the other hand, if a policy has been canceled due to non-payment, an insurance company responsible for the underinsured motorist claim will want to investigate to ensure that there was a proper cancelation. That’s why insurance companies don’t pay out on uninsured motorist claims until an exhaustive investigation is completed.
8. An Uninsured Motorist Claim is a Contract Claim
If an claim cannot be settled by an uninsured car accident attorney, it can usually be arbitrated. That’s because most insurance policies contain an arbitration clause in conjunction with their uninsured motorist coverage. This is advantageous because it is easier, less expensive and quicker to arbitrate a case than take it to a formal trial, providing your uninsured car accident attorney with leverage to achieve a better settlement.
9. Prepare Well For An Uninsured Motorist Arbitration
Even though the person that caused the accident will not be present at the arbitration, it’s still necessary to convince the arbitrator that the accident was their fault, rather than yours. You will testify and be informally cross-examined by the attorneys for the insurance company about how the accident happened and about the injuries you sustained. An arbitration for an uninsured motorist claim usually takes a couple of hours, whereas a trial can take days or even weeks.
10. Call An Uninsured Car Accident Attorney Promptly
Uninsured motorist claims can be complicated and the deadlines are short. That’s why it’s a good idea to call an uninsured car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Most uninsured car accident attorneys offer a free consultation, so there’s no reason to jeopardize your claim by waiting.
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