How do You Handle a Car Accident when the Other Driver is Uninsured?
Common advice when you are in a car accident is to exchange insurance information with the other driver. But what do you do when the other driver is uninsured? According to the Insurance Information Institute, Kentucky ranked twelfth in the nation in 2012 for uninsured motorists, with 15.8% of drivers uninsured. This means that at any given moment, nearly one in every six drivers on Kentucky roads is driving without liability insurance. While you may not be able to get their insurance information, you should still definitely get their contact information. There are options available to obtain compensation for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle, provided you take the appropriate steps following the accident.
Get the other driver’s contact information – Your options for compensation may include bringing an action against the uninsured driver personally, or presenting a claim to your own insurance carrier under your Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. The claims process for accessing your UM coverage may require a signed statement from the other driver that he or she is uninsured, so it is very important to you that the other driver can be contacted, no matter which route to compensation you are taking.
Remember, when giving your own insurance information, this information should be limited to your name, policy number, and the name and number of your insurance company. You should not volunteer or share information about the details of your coverage.
Contact the police – The uninsured driver may try to talk you out of calling the police, because they know they will be cited for driving without insurance. Yet this is an important step to securing your rights by establishing the facts of the accident with an official, written report. You can also access your UM coverage if you are struck by a hit and run driver, even if you cannot identify or locate the car that hit you. In this case, a police report can be very helpful to your claim.
Contact your insurance company – In order to secure your rights for UM compensation, you have to comply with the terms of your policy, which most likely requires you to report the incident promptly to your insurer.
Contact a lawyer – As soon as you can after the accident, contact a lawyer who regularly handles car accident cases. Your attorney can guide you on how to deal with the insurance company when notifying them of the accident or submitting a claim and represent you in any negotiations or litigation that may be required.
Your attorney will also want to get started right away gathering important evidence and securing your rights to compensation, so time is of the essence in contacting an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident. In Lexington, contact Todd W. Burris PSC for a free consultation.