What Kind of Insurance Helps if I Was in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
If you were in a car accident caused by another driver, only to find the driver has either no car insurance or inadequate car insurance you may be wondering how your medical expenses, lost wages and auto damages will be paid. In the state of Virginia, you are only required to have $25,000 of liability car insurance. This means if the other driver causes serious injuries to you or your passengers and only has a $25,000 liability policy, you may need to use your own uninsured motorist coverage to help pay your own expenses.
In the state of Virginia, the determination of how much uninsured motorist coverage you can apply is an offset to the minimum liability insurance of the other driver—In other words, you would use the $25,000 liability coverage of the other driver before your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage would kick in. This works somewhat strangely in the state of Virginia in that your car insurance provides a legal defense to the uninsured/underinsured driver, therefore must pay up to the total the policy provides. Your policy pays for any aspect of your injuries that you could have recovered from the at-fault driver, including medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering.
Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection for you when you are driving your own car, but also when you are a passenger in another person’s car. Further, uninsured/underinsured coverage extends to your family members, and even covers other types of vehicle-related accidents such as pedestrians or bicyclists who are hit by a car and even hit and run accidents. Considering the fact that at least 10 percent of Virginia residents do not have auto insurance, carrying uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is likely a very good idea.
How Do I Get Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?
You will obtain uninsured/underinsured auto insurance from your insurance company; you will choose the amount of coverage you would like/can afford. Typically, people have $50,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, although if you have the financial means to do so, $250,000 would not be out of line when you consider how much a serious accident could cost in medical expenses, lost wages and damages to vehicles.
Simply put, you just never know how bad a car collision could be, all the way from a fender bender to a head-on crash which results in life-changing injuries. If you have $250,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then you have a pretty solid “cushion” in the event you are hit by a driver with no insurance or are the victim of a hit and run. Contact your insurance company and ask about uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to determine how much coverage you can comfortably carry.
How is an Auto Accident Different if I Was Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
There are some ways that an auto accident is similar whether an insured driver or an uninsured driver hits you, but in other ways they are significantly different. The negligent driver is at-fault, whether he or she has insurance or not. However, establishing fault and actually receiving compensation can be two very different things when the driver who hit you is uninsured.
If the driver is totally uninsured, he or she may receive a citation and could experience some negative consequences such as losing his or her license, registration and license plates for a period of time. These consequences, however, have little to do with you and your injuries. If you carry uninsured/underinsured coverage, then you will file under your own insurance, but only up to the limit you carry. If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, your only other option is to personally sue the at-fault driver. Generally speaking, drivers who are unable to afford auto insurance would rarely have sufficient assets to make a lawsuit worthwhile.
What Steps Should I Take Following an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
Following an auto accident with an uninsured driver it is even more important that you immediately contact the police and have them come to the scene of the accident and later provide a police report. If your accident was relatively minor, then the at-fault driver who knows he or she has no insurance and is likely to be ticketed may try to persuade you to not get the police involved. It is never a good idea to agree to this. The other driver may promise to pay your expenses, however there is absolutely nothing that will hold them to such a promise.
In short, you could end up injured, out of work and with a damaged vehicle with absolutely no way to pay for the expenses. If you have a police report, and you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can submit the report to your own insurance company in order to have your medical expenses and other damages paid for. As with any auto accident, you will also need to be checked out medically, will need to keep careful track of all the details regarding your accident, and will need to contact an experienced Virginia car accident attorney as quickly as possible.
How Tronfeld West & Durrett Can Help Following an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If you have been involved in a Virginia auto accident with an uninsured driver, having an attorney from Tronfeld West & Durrett by your side could truly make a difference in your future. Rather than being left injured and potentially unable to work and make a living for your family, our attorneys will work aggressively on your behalf to ensure you receive an equitable settlement. We will answer your questions, and help you determine the right way to proceed for your future. Contact Tronfeld West & Durrett today for the assistance you need following your Virginia auto accident.