Car insurance is required in almost every state across the nation, yet not every driver purchases it. What occurs when an uninsured motorist is in an accident with an insured driver?
The answer depends largely on several elements, but one fact remains clear: drivers should know about the reality of uninsured motorists.
1. There Are Many Uninsured Drivers
In 2015, one in eight motorists was uninsured.
Certain states have much higher percentages of drivers who do not possess car insurance. Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico and Michigan are among the most prominent. A 2017 study indicated almost 30% of Florida’s drivers were uninsured in 2015.
2. State Laws Affect What Occurs
Can you sue an uninsured driver? Yes, if you live in a tort state.
Numerous victims of crashes assume every state follows the same procedures for handling accidents. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Some states require drivers to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. In these cases, motorists appeal to their own insurance companies for damages.
However, in cases where uninsured motorist coverage is not part of a driver’s policy, the state laws dictate what options are available. No-fault states require drivers turn to their own insurance companies for aid; rarely is a driver permitted to file a lawsuit against the other motorist.
Tort states, however, permit lawsuits against drivers whose negligence resulted in injury or death.
3. It May Not Be Worth Suing
Many clients are surprised to learn the hard reality associated with accidents involving uninsured motorists.
Even in tort states where litigation is possible, there is a large chance filing a lawsuit would not provide compensation needed for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. The majority of individuals who do not purchase car insurance have limited assets; consequently, pursuing them for damages is unlikely to aid victims financially, although it may provide closure.
4. You Can Purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Unfortunately, a preventative take on the issue is the most effective way for individuals to protect themselves. Regardless of whether it is required by state law or not, all car insurance companies must offer customers uninsured motorist coverage.
This coverage protects drivers against crashes involving motorists without insurance. Rather than filing a claim against an uninsured driver who cannot possibly provide financial compensation, these policies allow drivers to file a claim with their own insurance companies.
5. Never Take Insurance Companies at Their Word
Finally, if you experience an accident and file a claim, remember to demand proof from insurance companies if the claim is denied. Insurance companies can and do lie to avoid providing payments. Some may even falsely claim a driver is not insured with them.
Request written explanations for any denials.
The best technique to avoid the consequences of uninsured motorist accidents is to purchase the appropriate coverage. If an accident does occur and results in a personal injury, always speak to an attorney to learn the paths available for your situation.