Accidents happen. Unfortunately, they can also be expensive as all get out. After all, it isn’t cheap to repair a vehicle, and it certainly isn’t cheap getting medical treatment for any injuries that you suffered from the accident.
We all know what we’re supposed to do at the scene of an accident, for the most part. You move the vehicles to a safe location, exchange insurance information, speak to the authorities, and seek medical treatment for your injuries. But what happens when the other driver doesn’t have insurance? How can you recover damages from them?
That’s the question we’re here to answer today. Thankfully, there are a few different ways that you can protect yourself against uninsured motorists. First, however, we will look at the worst-case scenario: paying out of pocket. After this, we will look at what options are available to seek compensation through insurance or through a lawsuit.
Will I Have to Pay Out of Pocket?
Many people’s biggest fear is that they will have to pay for repairs and medical bills out of pocket should they get into an accident with an uninsured driver. Unfortunately for some people, they believe this to be so true that they don’t even consider other options.
In some cases, you may feel like the best option is to pay for your damages out of pocket. For example, if you were the one that caused the accident, then it will be difficult to convince your insurance company to offer a settlement. You may consider taking the other driver to court through a personal injury lawsuit, but if you were the cause of the accident, then the odds aren’t ideal.
If a driver is out on the roads without insurance, then they are breaking the law. Ohio requires that motorists have insurance. At minimum it should be $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person, $50,000 for two or more people, plus $25,000 in property damage.
The fact that the other driver is breaking the law may be able to help you in discussions with your insurance company, but all of that could be for nought if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage and How Does It Work?
The absolute best way to protect yourself against an uninsured motorist is to ensure that your insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage. If it does not, then adding this type of coverage to your policy is recommended, especially if you are anxious about what will happen in an accident of this nature.
Uninsured motorist coverage does exactly what it says it does: it offers coverage for accidents where the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance themselves. How much you can receive through uninsured motorist coverage will depend on the policy limits you’ve selected.
It’s important to pay attention to the fact that this covers the damages, up to the policy limit, when the uninsured motorist is at-fault. So while the fact that the other driver is uninsured can be beneficial in some arguments for a higher payout, it doesn’t make a difference when you are clearly the at-fault driver. After all, your insurance wouldn’t cover you for damages you were at-fault for even if the other driver was insured. To them, fault is more important than the other driver’s insurance.
While uninsured motorist coverage is the most effective for this particular situation, you can also benefit from collision coverage. This is coverage that protects your vehicle from damage arising from collisions. It isn’t nearly as effective as uninsured motorist coverage is but it can help to save you from spending a lot of money out of pocket.
Is a Car Accident Lawsuit an Option?
Many people prefer to work with insurance companies to cover their damages following a car accident. But insurance companies should never be thought of as friends. They are a business first and that means they are primarily concerned with earning money. Anything they pay out in settlements is money leaving the company, so it is in their best interest to keep payouts small and to try to worm their way out of paying anything at all.
The best way to ensure that they pay is to work with a car accident attorney when speaking with any insurance company. They will work hard to ensure you aren’t tricked into accepting a low-ball payout.
But for some people, whatever they can get from insurance simply won’t cut it. The cost of repairs and medical bills are too high to be covered by insurance. In a case like this, a car accident lawsuit may be the most appropriate answer. Of course, it should go without saying that this is not an option for those who are at fault for the accident.
If, on the other hand, your car accident was the result of the uninsured driver’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, then you have the necessary grounds to seek compensation through a lawsuit. You would want to work with an experienced attorney to gather evidence and build a case before taking that case to court to prove it in front of a judge.
This option can allow you to get more compensation for your damages, but it can be a risky venture when dealing with an uninsured motorist. An important question to determine first is whether the individual simply forgot to renew their coverage or if they didn’t have the necessary funds to pay for insurance in the first place. If it is the latter, then collecting damages through a lawsuit may be difficult, as there is nothing to collect from them.
How Do I Pick the Option That’s Best For Me?
The best way to ensure you pick the appropriate option is to speak to an experienced car accident attorney. You will certainly want to work with an attorney should you decide on a lawsuit, but speaking with one ahead of time may save you that effort. It might be that there aren’t good grounds for a lawsuit, so the best route is to negotiate with your insurance company.
No matter what course of action is the best, you can be sure a knowledgeable car accident attorney will be able to help you make the choice that is best for your unique situation.