According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 6.7 million vehicle accidents reported in 2018.
If you’ve ever been involved in a vehicle accident, you know how stressful it can be. If you’re lucky, you and everyone else involved isn’t injured. Without serious or minor injury, there’s still the damage and insurance claims to file.
You hope that the other driver carries at least the minimum liability insurance required to drive a vehicle. What if they don’t? If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, there are certain things you need to do to protect yourself.
Read on to learn more about the steps you have to take when hit by a driver who has no insurance.
Call the Police
An accident can happen at any time. It’s the unfortunate risk you take as a driver. Because of this risk, states require a level of minimum insurance coverage. Though insurance requirements are law, laws are broken.
The driver who hit you may not have insurance. This can cause you all sorts of legal headaches if you don’t handle the situation properly. To make sure you cover yourself, the first thing you need to do is call the police to file a report.
The truth is, you should call the police to file a report any time you’re handling a car accident. If you’ve been hurt and need to file an injury claim, a police report is a valuable tool for your car accident lawyer.
These police reports cover your ability to prove fault. They also expedite claims processes so you can get your costs covered. It’s especially important when dealing with an uninsured driver. You need police verification confirming the lack of insurance.
Some drivers like to wait to file a police report. It’s best to do so immediately. You may suffer injury. Car accidents release an amount of adrenaline that masks symptoms of whiplash and other injuries. You need a professional evaluation.
A police report will also help determine fault. 38 out of 50 states use fault to determine who pays for a car accident.
If you live in one of these states, you need to prove the driver who hit you is at least 51% at fault for the accident. No-fault states do not require this. Either way, if you’re hit by an uninsured driver, police reporting is necessary no matter the state statutes.
Don’t Take Money
An uninsured driver involved in an accident knows they are in trouble. If they don’t flee the scene, they will often try and offer a cash payment or other remuneration to avoid legal ramifications.
Don’t accept it. Even if your accident appears to be minor, you don’t have any way to know the extent of your car’s damage in the immediate aftermath. Some damage that looks like a dent or a few scratches could be much more.
If you take any offered money, you will be on the hook for any other damages that reveal themselves later on. By then, it might be too late to file a claim with your insurance company or with the police.
Note All Information
This is what to do after getting into a car accident of any kind. If the driver has insurance, you exchange insurance policy information. If they don’t you need to note the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle.
You’ll also need to note the time of day, the location, and the badge number of the officer who took your police report.
We all have a wonderful tool in our pockets. Our smartphones can do so many things. When you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, use your smartphone to take photographs.
Document the initial damage to your vehicle. Photograph the uninsured driver’s car and license plate. Snap photos of street signs, traffic signs, and any other information you deem important.
These photographs will serve your case well. Physical documentation is a valuable tool for accident lawyers when presenting a case to an insurance company and a court of law.
File an Initial Insurance Claim
After you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver, called the police, and gathered all the information you need, you need to file your initial insurance claim with your insurance company.
If you carry uninsured driver insurance on your policy, the process will be easy. Your insurance will, in most cases, cover your vehicle damage and medical bills.
Should you carry collision coverage, your insurance company will cover the damages to your vehicle but not any medical bills. Once you file your initial claims, you’ll find out what your insurance covers and see if you need to take any additional steps.
Hire a Lawyer
Whether you live in a tort or no-fault state means little when it comes to seeking injury damages from an uninsured driver. If you’re injured in a car accident by an uninsured driver, you will have to file a lawsuit.
Knowing this, it’s best to get a car accident attorney on the phone either before or immediately after you file your initial insurance claim. While the law seems simple, you’ll need car accident help from an expert lawyer.
These lawyers work on contingency. You won’t pay them until you get a settlement. And you hire them to get the best settlement possible. When involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, make sure to get someone on your side.
Were You Hit By an Uninsured Driver?
You need help immediately. A car accident isn’t a picnic even if you and the other driver both carry insurance coverage. If you’ve not suffered an injury, you still have insurance companies to deal with.
Double that stress if you were hit by an uninsured driver and injured. Call the police and file a report. Don’t accept a cash deal from the uninsured driver no matter the situation. Most importantly, seek legal counsel.
Do you need a car accident lawyer in the Tampa area? Call us today. We can help you.