A Definitive Guide on How to Protect Yourself when You are Hit by an Uninsured Driver
Unfortunately, there comes a time when no matter how prepared you are, you may become involved in a car wreck with another driver who does not have his car insurance. It is natural to become frustrated with questions and indecision as to what to do next, who must pay for damage and hospital bills, how to file a claim, how to blame the at-fault driver, and how to relinquish some of the financial loss that occurs from an accident. At times like these, it is beneficial to understand the benefits and procedures in filing an uninsured motorist claim under your own automobile insurance policy.
What is the point of an uninsured motorist claim?
The purpose of such a policy is to adequately compensate the not-at-fault driver for any property damage or medical bills that may arise from an accident involving a driver who did not contain any or enough car insurance to protect themselves. There are a few actions that the faultless driver may take to protect themselves from financial ruin and receive some compensation back after their accident.
Possible Actions to Take When Hit by an Uninsured Driver:
1. Can You Sue the At-Fault Driver?
First, the faultless driver may outright sue the at-fault driver, especially in circumstances in which the at-fault driver may have deep pockets and can cover your bills and expenses right away with their own money. However, lawsuits such as these usually do not prove that drivers who do not contain liability insurance have incredible wealth, therefore no attorney would recommend first filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver. Instead, most attorneys suggest making a claim under the uninsured motorist provision of your own car insurance policy.
2. Step by Step of Filing a Claim
The purpose of an uninsured motorist claim is to compensate the faultless driver for the damage and expenses that he suffered in the accident and bring him back to financial wholeness that he was before the accident. Therefore, if filed properly with an efficient attorney, the uninsured motorist claim will help pay for medical bills and property damage expenses to cover your losses in the event that you suffer an accident with a driver with no insurance.
3. What if the at-fault driver has insurance but not enough?
There is also the case that an at-fault driver may contain car insurance but may simply not contain enough coverage under their policy to pay for all of the injuries, medical bills, and damages. In that case, you can still file an underinsured motorist claim. In general, both claims would follow the same procedure and result in granting the faultless driver the money he needs to be made whole again.
4. When Should You File A Claim?
There is also the case that an at-fault driver may contain car insurance but may simply not contain enough coverage under their policy to pay for all of the injuries, medical bills, and damages. In that case, you can still file an underinsured motorist claim.
There are also a few steps to take when filing an uninsured motorist claim including:
- receiving a consent to settle document from the uninsured motorist carrier,
- getting a copy of the declarations page of the liability insurance company,
- sending the declarations to the at-fault driver,
- signing the release from the liability insurance company,
- and sending the medical bills and records to the at-fault driver.
It is important to act quickly when filing an uninsured motorist claim so you must be vigilant to give your insurance company notice immediately to file the claim. In a standard filing procedure, the time for such a claim may be limited, and in some cases, a policyholder may only have up to 30 days to file a claim. Luckily, if you are a policyholder under a policy that contains an uninsured motorist provision, you can file a claim as quickly as you can after you discover that the at-fault driver contains a limited policy or no car insurance policy at all.
5. Will my Insurance Company Investigate my Claim?
After filing an uninsured motorist claim following an accident, the insurance company will look into the accident and will likely investigate any damage done to the car and any medical treatment that you or your passengers contained, the nature of the injuries, hospital bills, and more. Your attorney will explain that these investigations take place both to calculate the damages that are needed to be covered under the uninsured motorist claim, but also to ascertain that the faultless driver filed a claim under good faith and without any fraud or over-exaggeration regarding the damage or injuries. It is crucial to stay honest during this time to make the most of the uninsured motorist claim and win back any financial loss you may have incurred in the accident.
All in all, it is always recommended to purchase the right car insurance policy for you and your family and your vehicles, so that everyone may be protected from financial loss. However, if in an unlucky circumstance you are hit by an uninsured driver, there are possibilities for coverage, penalties, and compensation under the faultless driver’s uninsured motorist claim in their own automobile insurance policy. In the event that you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver you can:
- File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, although this is not recommended if the driver does not have the adequate finances to pay your damages
- File a claim under the uninsured motorist provision of your automobile insurance policy within 30 days of the accident
- You can file a claim if the at-fault driver does not have enough coverage under their own policy
- You can file a claim if the at-fault driver does not have any car insurance
- Expect for your insurance company to conduct investigations to determine the liability, damages, and compensation
Thankfully, these policies allow individuals to reclaim their losses, pay their hospital bills, and stay financially safe in the midst of an unfortunate and frustrating car accident.
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