Saying that dealing with an auto accident is never fun is an understatement. Saying that handling an auto accident claim can be long and taxing is an inarguable fact. Unfortunately, even the most careful driver is bound to get in a car accident sooner or later. Vehicular collisions can easily become complicated legal matters. They can become even more convoluted when one or more of the involved drivers is not insured—or even underinsured.
Did you know that the Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that about one in every eight drivers is uninsured? That figure totals up to 13 percent of all motorists! Oftentimes, drivers are totally unprepared to deal with a crash with an uninsured driver. After all, most of us have been taught that exchanging insurance information is the very first thing to do after an accident. Do you know what to do after an auto accident with an uninsured motorist? In this blog post, we will give you a brief overview of what to expect.
You should contact the police after any sort of car accident—but especially after a car accident with an uninsured driver. Filing an official accident report can do wonders for your case. Remember to be as detailed as necessary when recounting your accident to the officers, and don’t forget to include any potentially relevant details. Make sure you let them know that the other driver is uninsured. (This also has an added bonus: If the other party has been evasive about showing you their insurance information, the police will make sure they show proof.)
Accident reports are incredibly valuable pieces of evidence. They are an official record of what happened at the scene, making them your first avenue for arguing your case. Having an accident report on your side can expedite your recovery process and make the overall claims process much smoother. Make sure to request a copy for your own records, and take down the names and badge numbers of the officers you speak with. You may need it later on.
It’s very possible that the uninsured driver will ask you not to call the police. After all, they probably know that driving without insurance puts them at risk for huge fines and fees. Chances are they’ll be more panicked than you are about the accident as a whole. They may even offer you money in exchange for you to leave the accident unreported. While this may be tempting, you should never accept such an offer.
One reason why is that it is almost impossible to fully assess the true value of an auto accident claim directly after the fact. This is especially true if you’ve incurred personal injury as a result. The fact of the matter is that many injuries take time to make themselves fully known—at which point the responsible party may have long since fled. Additionally, if you find that your losses are even worse than initially expected, it may be impossible for you to ever recover compensatory damages. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
An uninsured driver may not be able to exchange insurance information with you, but you will still want to make sure to exchange contact information with them. Make sure to jot down (or take photos of) their driver’s license number, license plate, phone number, and any other potentially relevant details. It’s best to do this immediately after the accident and while you’re waiting for the police to arrive.
You should also begin documenting evidence of the accident itself. This means taking photographs of any physical injury or property damage the crash inflicted, along with any other potentially relevant information (such as skid marks, broken glass, road conditions, weather conditions, et cetera).
It’s also crucially important to see if you can find any potential witnesses. This includes other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and passersby. You may even want to ask local businesses if they possibly caught your car accident on their surveillance tapes. If you are lucky enough to procure a witness account, don’t forget to ask for their contact information in case you ever need to get back in touch.
At this point, you’re probably wondering who will pay for all the damages you’ve incurred. Should you even bother reporting this accident to your insurance company? The answer: Yes! Let them know from the very start that you were hit by an uninsured driver. This will affect how your case has to be treated—and it is also possible that your policy has uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage is exactly what it sounds like—it’s coverage in case you’re ever involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver. Not all policies have this, so make sure you confirm whether or not yours does with your provider. And if your accident took place in a no-fault state, rest assured that your insurance company will have to pay for at least part of your medical bills and lost earnings regardless.
When recounting the accident with your insurance provider, try to stick to the facts. You don’t want to say anything that could be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. Obviously, you should always be honest—but it’s easy to say things in the heat of the moment that could be purposefully taken out of context. You may even want to consult with a trusted car accident lawyer before talking to anyone from the insurance company.
It can feel difficult and overwhelming to take care of an auto accident claim on your own, especially if you do not have a full and comprehensive understanding of the law. You need someone on your side you can trust. Fortunately, you do not have to go through it alone.
If you or a loved one have recently been involved in a car accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country.
You should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide auto accident attorneys. We have helped countless clients successfully resolve their automobile accident cases. We can help you too. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.