In California a driver must have insurance to drive. But there are many people who do not have insurance and still drive. There are 4.1 million drivers in California that are not insured which is 14.7% of drivers. The likelihood of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver is quite high. Most likely you have uninsured motorist insurance, this means your insurance will pay for your medical bills, damages, and lost wages that were sustained from the accident. So what should you do if you find yourself in this predicament?
Steps to Take When Hit by an Uninsured Driver
1. Call the Police and File a Police Report
Since it’s illegal to be driving without insurance you are going to need to have the police involved. This is a crucial step in this process; without a police report your insurance might deny you from getting the compensation that you deserve. The police report will also help prove the identity of the uninsured driver that caused the accident. There is also a possibility that you could face legal repercussions for leaving the scene. Stay at the scene of the accident till police arrive, give them all relevant information, so they have a record of how the accident occured.
2. Do not accept any liability
Do not accept any sort of liability, even partial liability for the accident. Stay away from self incriminating statements, or a statement that could inadvertently incriminate you. Such statements would be: “I’m so sorry”or “I didn’t see you there”. These statements could be taken out of context and used against you. When speaking to the police only give them necessary information about the accident. Unnecessary information could be used against you so that you are fully or partially liable for the accident. If you take any liability you’ll have to pay for the damages or medical bills of the uninsured driver.
3. Seek Medical Care
At the scene of the accident you may feel fine and uninjured, but you may have whiplash or other medical problems that may arise a few days after the accident. If you do not seek medical attention immediately after the accident you may not be able to prove that you sustained these injuries in the accident. If you can’t prove that you got these injuries in the accident your insurance will not cover your medical bills or loss of wages from being unable to work from your injuries.
4. Contact your Insurance
You will need to contact your car insurance company and if you sustained any injuries you will need to contact your medical insurance company. Give them all relevant information from the accident. Your car insurance will need the police report, pictures of your damaged car, pictures of any relevant information about the scene of the crime like traffic signs and road conditions. You should contact an attorney because the insurance companies will try to take advantage of you. Insurance companies are for profit so they’ll try to undermine you and cut corners to save money wherever they can.
5. Contact an Attorney who Specializes in Auto Accidents
Since insurance companies will try to take advantage of you and cut corners to save money, you need an attorney that will fight for you and get you what you deserve. The attorney has your best interest at heart and will help you through the process of dealing with insurance companies or seeking claims against the uninsured driver. The attorney will help you negotiate with the insurance company so you will receive the maximum amount of money you are able to collect. They’ll also support you throughout the whole process and give you necessary information that you’ll need, this will help relieve any stress you are having about the incident. The attorney will also help you put together your claim and put together a comprehensive list of damages that you received from the accident. Do not go through this process alone, an attorney will have your back and make sure you are taken care of properly.
Ways to get Compensation if the Motorist is Uninsured
You may be wondering how am I going to pay for my medical bills and damages to my car if a driver without insurance crashed into me? Don’t worry there are multiple routes you can take so you can pay for all those expensive bills.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Most of the time you have uninsured motorist coverage, to not have it you must sign a waiver to deny having the coverage. Signing the waiver shows that you were offered the coverage but turned it down. This covers you if you were in an accident and the other driver does not have insurance or not enough coverage to pay for all the damage. This type of coverage pays for any bodily injuries you or your passengers have sustained in an accident when the uninsured driver is at fault. It also pays for the damage to your car if the driver with no insurance is identified(this is why it’s important to have the police involved). The limit to this is $3,500. This type of coverage might not be necessary if you have collision coverage.
Collision coverage will cover if you cause an accident, you crash into a tree or other object, roll your car, or if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver. This coverage doesn’t cover medical bills, only damage to property such as your car, the other driver’s car or any damage to someone’s property. If you are injured you’ll need to have a different type of insurance to cover your medical bills.
Since California is an at-fault state for car collisions there is no personal injury insurance. Medpay insurance is a type of optional coverage that pays for any medical bills or funeral expenses. This insurance pays for medical bills no matter who is at fault. It also pays for the medical bills of any passenger in your car.
If you do not have any of these following insurance coverage, you will need to file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver. The only problem is that the driver without insurance may not have enough money to be able to cover all your injuries and damages sustained in the accident. So you might not get the compensation that you were expecting. But you can file a lawsuit against anyone who had contributed to the accident. If you do that you might be able to recuperate some of the losses you had. Hiring a lawyer will help you determine if there were any other people or factors that led to your accident and will pursue any avenue to get you the compensation that you are owed.