An uninsured driver accident brings many questions, especially how you will get compensation for the losses you incur. The good news: you can still recover payment for medical bills, wage loss, disfigurement, and more with the help of a local uninsured motorist accident attorney.
All drivers must legally have car insurance, but one in eight drivers do not. There are several options for getting compensation, and whether it is worth suing the other driver will depend on individual factors. You will have a better chance of compensation recovery through your insurance policy. Read on to learn more about how to navigate your auto accident claim with the help of our Chicago car accident lawyers.
What qualifies as an uninsured motorist claim?
Different circumstances can apply that will lead to an uninsured motorist claim aside from the other driver not having any insurance. However, the most common is when the other driver does not have a valid insurance policy. If the other person does have insurance, but it is insufficient to cover your losses, you will have an uninsured motorist claim. A hit-and-run accident and one involving a pedestrian or bicyclist will also lead to these claims.
At first glance, you will not know that the other driver doesn’t have insurance; it is not until you attempt to file a claim that many motorists find out they are in a sticky situation. A hit and run is an obvious case because you cannot identify the other driver and have few options, but that is not the focus today.
Independently wealthy motorists
While most motorists do not carry insurance because they cannot afford it, several independently wealthy individuals choose not to have car insurance, forget to pay the premium, and allow their policy to lapse. To the eye, they seem like any other driver, but in reality, they can have substantial assets and a financial foundation they can tap into to pay out claims.
While wealthy, these individuals can try to hide assets; an excellent uninsured motorist’s lawyer will find these through an investigation. If this is your case, you may need to sue the driver.
Your insurance premiums
Motorists are apprehensive about filing uninsured motorist claims with their insurance provider because they believe their premiums will go up. Most of the time, your premium doesn’t go up since you did not cause the accident, and you have the coverage necessary to make up for any losses of other drivers. Additionally, the insurance company will settle your case and then attempt to sue the other driver for reimbursement.
Since your insurance company can sue and you can sue a negligent driver, you must be wary of the legal steps you take. Always review your options with your uninsured motorist attorney and work with your insurance company, so you do not have legal ramifications for doing the wrong thing.
Your lawyer can review your insurance policy and determine if you have enough coverage to file a claim. If you do not, then we can look into alternatives. Uninsured motorist is an optional provision to add to your insurance policy, but it can also be a state requirement. Most carriers add it automatically and give you the option to opt out. Still, the provision is typically a few extra dollars and provides substantial benefits when you need to use it.
A family member suffers an injury.
Uninsured motorist coverage covers your losses and any family or friend you have in your vehicle. So if you suffer an injury, and so does your brother, who is in the car with you, you can go through your insurance policy to recover compensation. While you can file a claim together, your relative can also file independently. Again, depending on individual circumstances, the options will vary.
Alternative insurance policies
Aside from your automotive insurance policy, you may have other insurance policies you can tap into to cover your losses when there is an uninsured motorist who caused you injury. Before you tap into these benefits, discuss your options with an uninsured motorist accident attorney.
Health insurance Coverage
Health insurance is a great way to cover some of the cost of your injuries, but you can only use your health insurance policy after you have exhausted your car insurance benefits. While you can use them both, you must ensure you use them in the correct order so you don’t receive denials.
Long-term disability insurance
If you suffer a disability after a car accident, you can tap into your long-term disability insurance benefits. These are usually employee programs, and they will replace a portion of your income during your medical recovery. These policies have different stipulations; you will need to know what they are and if you qualify for these benefits.
While most insurance companies will resolve the claim through uninsured motorists’ coverage, some are less than willing to offer you what you deserve. It is essential that your uninsured motorist accident attorney review all viable options to find what works best for you. Another option we can look into is arbitration. If that does not work, a lawsuit is the next step, whether against the other driver or the insurance company.
When requesting compensation, you will need enough to cover all your losses, from medical costs to funeral expenses. The amount you will need will vary by the loss you suffer, and you need the experienced advice of someone who can accurately calculate these damages.
Examples of compensation for your injuries include:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished future earnings
- Lower quality of life
- Funeral and burial costs
Attorneys treat uninsured motorists’ claims under the personal injury umbrella and work on contingency fees. The fee structure removes some client risks and puts it all on the lawyer. Attorneys on contingency do not get paid unless they win, so they will fight to get you adequate compensation.
Uninsured motorists must pay
If you file a successful lawsuit against an uninsured motorist and there is a judgment, they must pay you for the damages. They will typically have thirty days to satisfy the judgment and pay you, and if they do not, they will suffer other consequences, such as a suspended license or registration. The suspension will stay in effect until the driver fulfills their obligation.
If the uninsured driver doesn’t pay the judgment, you have options, including returning to court and asking for a court order that requires them to pay. If they can show the judge they do not have any funds to pay, you may not collect anything, even if the court orders them to provide it to you.
However, your lawyer may explore other options with you. Perhaps defendants have money but not enough to pay the entire judgment. You might ask the court to establish a payment plan. The court will determine how much and how often the defendant must pay you to clear out the debt.
If the defendant owns property like a home or vehicle, your lawyer can place a lien on the property so they cannot sell it until after a final judgment. Once you receive a judgment, if the defendant doesn’t have the funds to pay, they must sell their assets to pay what they owe you. If you placed a lien on their home and they cannot afford to pay you, they will need to sell the house and give you a portion of the proceeds to remove the debt.
Benefits of having an uninsured motorist accident attorney
Insurance companies love to collect monthly premiums but hate paying out claims and will not be too keen to pay you the money you deserve after an uninsured motorist’s accident.
Luckily having an uninsured motorists accident attorney offers:
- A free case review by phone, in the office, or at the hospital
- Investigative efforts like gathering evidence, police reports, eyewitness statement, surveillance footage, and more
- Create a timeline of the events and use other tools to investigate what the parties were doing at the time
- Request and review medical documents to determine the extent of your injuries and future prognosis
- Compile bills, receipts, and all expenses to come to a total cost assessment
- File a demand package for the losses you suffer through a UIM claim or a personal injury lawsuit
- Negotiate with the insurance company
There are many other benefits of having a personal injury lawyer handling your case, but these are just a few. Most importantly, you will have the peace of mind that you do not need to handle any paperwork or communication while you heal.
Speak to a lawyer immediately
After an accident, you must discuss your legal options with a personal injury attorney. However, the stakes are even higher when it comes to an accident involving uninsured motorists. You cannot allow them to get away with their actions, and they must be held liable. You did not cause the car accident, yet you are left to pay physically and financially for another person’s actions.
It is difficult to say whether it is worth suing the other driver without reviewing your case. Time is limited, and you cannot wait to speak with a local uninsured motorists attorney. Evidence will disappear, and the longer you wait, the more evidence the insurance company will gather to deny your claim.
Don’t let appearances fool you because the other driver may have hidden assets—they can use them to pay for your losses.