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Help! I've Been Hit by an Uninsured Driver

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. | Updated by Vaidehi Mehta, Esq. | Last updated on

Some drivers don't have car insurance, even in states requiring a minimum collision insurance policy. If you're reading this, you may be one of the unlucky many to be hit by an uninsured driver. That's not a fun spot to be in.

But don't worry—you're not completely without recourse. If an uninsured or underinsured driver has hit you, you may still be able to get your insurance company or the at-fault driver to pay your bills. But to get to that point, you're going to have to take some steps. Hopefully, you won’t have to involve a lawyer, but even if you do, FindLaw is here to walk you through the steps you should take.

First Things First

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, ensure your safety first. Check yourself and others involved for injuries. If necessary, call 911 for medical attention.

Then, report the accident. Call the police to file an accident report, even for minor damage. This creates an official record of the accident.

While the police are getting to the scene, you must document the accident. Even though the police will make their own record, it’s important to get all the documentation you can. Take pictures of the damage to your car, any injuries, and the overall accident scene. If possible, note down details like weather conditions, traffic signals, and any witnesses. These will all be important when filing an insurance claim.

Let’s Talk Insurance

Now, you’re ready to do something about the damage.

First, get the other driver's information. This is true even if you've been hit by an uninsured driver. You need to know who hit you so you can take care of steps 2 and 3. Ask to see their license and write down their contact information. Also, grab their driver's license and license plate numbers.

When you’re done dealing with the police and the other driver, ensure all cars and people are transported to safety or repair. Now, you can move on to getting your own insurance involved. If you don't have time immediately, give your insurance company a call later that same day or the next day. You probably have some form of uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) kicks in when the other driver has no coverage at all. UIM helps cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages if you're hit by an uninsured driver. Underinsured motorist coverage applies when your damages exceed the other driver's limit. Let your insurance company pay what you're owed if you have one of these policies.

One important thing to note, though, is that these types of plans typically only cover your bodily injuries from a car accident. They often don’t cover damage to your vehicle, which is considered property damage. If you’re worried about the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may want to purchase separate add-on coverage. It is usually called something like "Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage."

But what if you don't have one of these policies? Or what if your policy doesn't cover all of your damages? That’s when a car accident lawyer can come in handy.

Lawyer Up!

Even if the other driver is uninsured, they are still liable for your injuries in a car accident.

The law determines who is financially responsible for the accident based on fault. If the uninsured driver caused the accident, they are legally liable for your damages. However, having liability and the ability to pay are two different things. Since they lack insurance, collecting compensation can be challenging.

In that case, you can sue the at-fault driver directly. This route might be successful if they have significant assets to cover your losses. However, it can be a lengthy and expensive process, and there's no guarantee of recovering compensation, especially if the driver has limited assets or declares bankruptcy.

If you do end up in this boat, you may want to call a lawyer. With the help of a car accident attorney, you can file a civil suit to recover what you're still owed. And if it's not an incredibly high sum, you may be able to go at it alone and file in small claims court. You can also get in touch with a personal injury attorney to recover for any injuries or medical bills.

Do Your Part to Prevent Uninsured Drivers

When all is said and done, do everyone else a favor. If you live in a mandatory insurance state, report the other motorist. You can report an uninsured driver to the police or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can even choose to report anonymously.

You can contact your local DMV to see if they have a procedure for reporting uninsured drivers. For example, in California, you can contact the driver safety branch office for the nearest location or the uninsured driver. In Florida, you can call the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Customer Service Center, at (850) 617-2000.

Even though it’s happened to you, reporting the other driver—who failed to obey the law—will help prevent someone else from being hit by an uninsured driver in the future.

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