It seems we’re taught from the moment we get a driver’s license to have our insurance information available and ready to provide in case of an accident. What if the other party, however, has no insurance information to offer to you? The first step is to not panic.
Next, get as much information from the other driver as possible. Do not assume that the other driver is being entirely truthful about their lack of insurance or their level of insurance. Definitely contact the police to report the accident, preferably when both parties are still on the scene, especially if you are in a state in which insurance is required to be able to operate a car. The police may have access to insurance databases that you do not and can verify whether or not the other driver is actually insured. At a bare minimum, however, you will need to have a police report of the incident to take to your insurance provider to prove that there was in fact an accident.
If the other driver truly was uninsured, it is time to look to your insurance policy. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, it is possible that this will cover some, if not all, of the damages that should have been covered by the other party had they had insurance. Of course, the time to determine this is preferably before an accident. If that is not possible, certainly make any claims to your insurance carrier as soon as possible after an accident.
Filing a lawsuit against the other driver may also be an option, depending upon whether the state in which the accident occurs is a no-fault state. If the state is no-fault, then each party is considered to be responsible for his damages, either through his insurance company or himself. Unless you have serious injuries with appropriately large medical bills, you may not be able to file suit against the other driver in a no-fault state. In states that do not have no-fault provisions, you can file a suit, but you may still never realize an actual settlement. This is because many people who drive without insurance do so because they have very few assets to begin with. So, securing a judgment against them is a pyrrhic victory from which you may not see a dime.
While most states require all drivers to carry sufficient insurance, we know that many people for various reasons do not. If you happen to get into accident with someone who does not have insurance, your options may be limited, as a personal injury lawyer Delray Beach FL trusts can attest.. The moral of this story, then, is that the best defense is a best offense by securing for yourself uninsured or underinsured liability coverage on the front end. While this insurance will add to your overall insurance premiums, it will take only one accident with an uninsured driver to pay off in the form of complete coverage and much less stress.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into personal injury and auto accident cases.