Car accidents are universally terrifying, and for most of us so is insurance. Although the vast majority of us fall under one insurance policy or another, we usually fail to recognize all the finer points of those policies. Under which circumstances are you covered? What if a dog runs in front of your vehicle and you hit someone after swerving to avoid him? What if an asteroid slams into your car trunk and spews paint chips at the car behind you? What if you are injured by an irresponsible driver who has no insurance? Indeed, sometimes dealing with insurance claims after an accident can be just as terrifying and stress-inducing as the accident itself.
So what should you do when you’re injured by an uninsured driver?
Well, first thing’s first: enlist the services of a personal injury attorney who knows what he or she is doing. Shop around, take advantage of free consultations to talk about the ins and outs of an eventual case, and choose the one who is best for you.
Usually, car insurance falls under a couple of different categories that could become relevant should you get into an accident with an uninsured driver. You may have either 1) uninsured motorist coverage OR 2) underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is what it sounds like. Basically, if you get into an accident with a driver who has no insurance, your insurance provider will still help cover the costs of any injuries or damages that result. Although this type of insurance is almost always offered by the provider, you may have neglected to opt-in, and that could mean trouble if you need to file a claim. A few states require this type of coverage, but not all.
Underinsured motorist coverage is similar. If you’re in an accident with a driver who has insurance, but the policy won’t cover the costs of all your injuries or damage to your car, then your own policy will fulfill the rest.
One thing you should know: these types of insurance only come into play if the uninsured (or underinsured) driver is found to be at fault for the accident. If the accident was your fault, it’s a whole different thing and you should talk your options over with your lawyer before you say anything to your insurance company (or the policy). In addition, the time frame you usually have to make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim is usually extremely limited and you absolutely must present your case to your lawyer as soon as possible in order to guarantee you get the compensation you deserve.
These kinds of things are nearly impossible to deal with on your own, which is why you got help from an attorney. Your legal representation will walk you through not only what you need to know, but who to talk to (or who not to talk to), when and what to do, and what to expect when the case is concluded. You deserve compensation for both your physical and emotional trauma and in most cases you will get it.