Personal Injury Lawyer
Every driver is legally required to carry auto insurance so the at-fault party can pay for the damages and injuries caused by their mistake. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this law and some drivers are not covered while on the road. So, what do you do when you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, and the accident is proven to be their fault?
After the Accident
Immediately following the accident, call 911 and determine whether you need medical attention. Collect the insurance information, if they have any, as well as their contact and vehicle information. If there are any willing eyewitnesses, collect their contact info, the name and badge number of the police, and write down any important details about the accident – date, time, location, traffic signs – especially details that help to prove the accident was the other person’s fault. If you can, take pictures of the accident and the vehicle damage.
Using Your Own Insurance
Your insurance policy likely includes uninsured and underinsured coverage, for exactly these types of situations. If the responsible party has no insurance, you would file a claim with your insurance company for your losses, up to the limit of your uninsured coverage.
If the responsible driver’s insurance is not adequate for covering all the damages, you would file a claim with their insurance up to the maximum amount. If your underinsured driver coverage is larger than their maximum coverage, you would also file a claim with your insurance but only up to the amount that exceeds the other driver’s coverage.
For example, the accident has cost $150,000 and the other driver’s insurance covers $50,000 and your policy covers $100,000. You would file a claim with their policy for the $50,000, and would only be able to file a claim with your policy for $50,000 – the amount that your policy exceeded theirs.
If you find out that the responsible party does not have enough, or any, insurance coverage, you should let your insurance company know as soon as possible that you will be filing a claim with them. Some insurance companies are strict with deadlines in these types of situations, which could be as little as 30 days.
As your case continues and you receive medical treatment and property damage repairs, you may not know right away that you will need an underinsured claim. Work with a car accident lawyer in Lakeland, FL in these cases to help you determine the potential cost of the accident to make these decisions quickly. This will maximize your ability to file claims for as many of the damages and losses as possible so you don’t end up with a huge loss on your hands that wasn’t even your fault to begin with.
Thanks to David & Philpot, PL for their insight into personal injury claims and car accidents with uninsured drivers.