What to Do After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
Being injured in a car accident can be a terrifying and overwhelming experience, and if you were struck by an uninsured driver, you might not only worry about recovering from your injuries, but you may also be wondering how your medical bills will be paid. Although it can be more difficult to recover compensation in a personal injury action if the at-fault driver was uninsured, you may still have options available.
In Washington State, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance. However, not every driver complies with this law or has sufficient coverage in the event of an accident. In fact, an estimated 21.7 percent of drivers in the state are uninsured. With nearly one-quarter of drivers on the road lacking insurance, it’s critical to take measures to protect yourself by ensuring your insurance policy has certain coverage.
After any car crash, it’s essential to contact the police and seek emergency medical assistance if necessary. You will also need to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If the driver is uninsured, you can turn to your own insurance policy to see what coverage you might have.
Coverage that may help if you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver can include:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) — Generally, PIP will cover up to $10,000 for reasonable and necessary medical expenses in connection with your car accident. You can also purchase additional coverage, which would pay up to $35,000 for medical and hospital costs.
- Uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage — While UM and UIM coverage is optional, it can allow you to recover beyond the compensation provided by PIP if you have been injured by another driver who did not have adequate coverage. UM/UIM coverage can also help to pay for your damages if you have been in a hit-and-run accident.
- Collision coverage — If you don’t have UM/UIM coverage on your policy, collision coverage may cover the cost of the damage to your vehicle, up to the policy limit. Your lender may require you to have collision coverage if you are leasing or financing your vehicle.
If you did not purchase additional coverage from your insurance company, you could end up paying the costs of your medical treatment out of pocket. In these cases, you can still pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver if they are uninsured, but it’s important to understand that they may not have sufficient assets to pay any judgment you might be awarded.
Pursuing monetary recovery for injuries sustained in a car accident with an uninsured driver can be complex. It’s crucial to have a proficient attorney on your side to help ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve. For over 20 years, Bottimore & Associates, P.L.L.C. has been helping car accident victims throughout Washington achieve positive results in their cases. Call 253-272-5653 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Tacoma office.