Can An Uninsured Driver Hit By An Insured Driver File a Claim?
Driving without insurance is a risky proposition and — in nearly every state — is also against the law. Despite this fact, some people will find themselves in the unfortunate situation where an accident has occurred and they are uninsured. This sort of incident can be financially catastrophic if the uninsured driver is at fault. (Even an accident where the uninsured driver isn't to blame can be a severe monetary blow.)
Is there an option to help soften that financial hit? Can an uninsured driver hit by an insured driver file a claim? The following article provides information in response to this question and highlights common concerns.
Although insurance requirements are extraordinarily common in the United States, there are some jurisdictions in which drivers are offered alternatives. Common insurance alternatives include the maintenance of a bond or a certificate of deposit of money or securities in an amount specified by the state. Laws generally refer to the "financial responsibility" of drivers, so these alternatives can sometimes satisfy that requirement.
If you reside in a state that allows these care insurance alternatives, you do have options after a car accident. You can proceed to file your claim against the insured driver without concern about your lack of insurance. It should be noted, however, that an insurer would retain agents and attorneys that would normally negotiate and, if necessary, litigate the matter in order to come to a fair settlement. If you are uninsured, you would benefit by hiring an attorney to perform these tasks on your behalf.
When an uninsured driver is hit by an insured driver, they could still face some consequences for their lack of insurance.
If your state has an insurance requirement, or if you are unable to comply with the insurance alternatives, you can still file a claim against an insured driver. However, insurance companies are likely to report your lack of insurance to the state. Most states require that you maintain a minimum amount of insurance. Failure to do so typically results in a fine and may also include the revocation of the driver's license for a period of time.
The consequences of your lack of insurance may have already arisen by the time you contact an insurer. Depending on your state's laws and the circumstances of the accident, a police officer may have already ticketed you when they came to the scene, investigated the accident, and wrote a report. The investigation and report probably will be helpful in pursuing your claim against the insurer, but it also means that your lack of insurance is documented and that punishment for driving without insurance is virtually certain.
Another important consequence of the accident and your insurance claim is that the other party may claim damages against you. However, this may happen regardless of whether you proceed with your claim. If the insured driver carries an uninsured/underinsured policy, they can proceed with a claim against their own insurer. Or, if they feel that they will be able to collect a judgment, they could proceed with a claim against you personally. In some jurisdictions, your liability may be limited to the deductible of the insured driver's policy.
Need to File a Car Accident Claim? Talk to an Attorney First
An uninsured driver hit by an insured driver faces some potentially difficult communications with the insurance company. How a motor vehicle accident will impact you depends on your state's laws and the specific details of the accident.
A competent injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed and handle many of the communications with the insurer on your behalf. Don't assume you have no rights or that you are getting a good deal regarding a settlement before an experienced lawyer reviews your situation.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.