Automobile accidents happen every day, but in most situations, drivers assume that all drivers have insurance to cover the cost of damages should they be involved in a collision. Unfortunately, not everyone has automobile insurance. So, what do you do if you’re involved in an accident and the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance? Here are a few tips on how to proceed when someone has caused a wreck, but they don’t have car insurance.
Assess the Situation
When you are in an accident, you most likely won’t know whether the other driver has insurance until you begin to exchange information. So, the first thing to do is to handle the situation just like you would if you assumed the person that caused the wreck has insurance. If your vehicle is drivable, and you are in a high traffic area, you should move the vehicle to the side of the road, check yourself and any passengers for injuries, and then get out of your vehicle to assess it for damages. Do not immediately get out and confront the other driver. The following steps should include:
- Call the police-Regardless of whether the other driver has insurance or not, it’s always recommended that you contact the police, but it’s even more important if the other driver isn’t insured. The police report will be critical for helping to get the expenses covered for your medical expenses and damages, and it will help the claim process go much smoother.
- Exchange information-This will probably be the time when you discover that the other driver doesn’t have insurance, but you’ll still want to get their personal information and all the details about their vehicle, including the license plate number. At this time, you should also get contact information from anyone that witnessed the accident; this is especially important for the claims process and/or if you end up filing a lawsuit against the other driver.
- Write down the details-While waiting for the police to arrive, make a note of the time and location of the accident, the direction both vehicles were traveling, and the location of stop signs, traffic lights and etc. Once the police officer arrives, write down their name and badge number.
- Take pictures-Using your cell phone or a camera take pictures of any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle, the other vehicle’s license plate, and anything that may be relevant to the accident. The photos can be extremely valuable when filing a claim for an accident involving a driver without insurance.
- Do not accept payment-One of the most common things that happen when a driver doesn’t have insurance is to offer the other driver cash or another type of payment. Without insurance, they may have to pay a lot of expensive fines and fees, so they will do whatever they can to avoid the legal repercussions. But, at the time of the accident you aren’t going to know what it will cost to repair the damages or for your medical expenses if you are injured, so never accept money or other offers from an at-fault driver without insurance.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Once you have all the information, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to let them know about the accident. When you contact your insurance company makes sure you let them know that the accident was caused by an uninsured driver. This is important because it will affect the entire claim process. When filing the claim with your insurance company you will need to provide them with all the information you collected at the time of the collision, including the name of the police department that responded to the accident.
If your insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance provider will help cover the medical costs for you and your passengers, loss of income, and repair costs for damages to your vehicle. If your policy doesn’t include an uninsured motorist’s coverage, your next option may be to take the at-fault person to court in order to sue them for the expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, and you are having difficulties paying the medical bills or other financial debts that were the result of the accident, you have the option of filing a personal injury claim. Although you can represent yourself in this situation, it is recommended that you contact a personal injury attorney that is experienced and knowledgeable in the process of filing a personal injury claim against uninsured motorists. It is extremely important to work closely with your attorney and to provide them with all the information that you gathered at the time of the accident. There are a number of things that may affect the outcome of the claim, such as if the accident occurred in a no-fault state, but an experienced attorney will be able to assess your situation and recommend whether filing a claim will be in your best benefit.