Car accidents are always frightening and stressful situations. However, when the driver who caused the accident is uninsured, it can make things even worse. Will you be stuck paying all your own medical bills? What will you do about your income when your injuries make it impossible to work for the short or long term?
Fortunately, you have legal rights that you can exercise. Understanding your options after an accident with an uninsured motorist can help you figure out the next steps you should take, and seeking guidance from experienced uninsured motorist accident attorneys like Text Kevin Accident Attorneys can ensure you navigate the legal process with expertise and support.
What to Do When the At-Fault Driver In an Accident Has No Insurance
In New York, all drivers must have liability insurance coverage. This coverage needs to be in place to cover the costs of any damages or injuries caused in an accident.
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance coverage, they may be subject to fines, suspension of their driver’s license, and other penalties. Many drivers don’t understand the state’s no-fault insurance model. Some mistakenly believe it means you are never at fault for an accident.
No-fault insurance simply means that regardless of who is at fault in an accident, each driver will file their claim with their own insurer for medical expenses and lost wages. However, the coverage you have may not be enough to cover your medical bills sufficiently. Uninsured motorist coverage is required in New York, but if you have serious injuries, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver.
What to Know About Pursuing Fault-Based Damages in a New York Car Crash
Eligibility to pursue fault-based damages in the state means you need to meet the severe injury threshold laws. Pain and suffering is one of the most common fault-based damages, but you can only pursue it if your economic loss is more than $50,000 or you suffered a severe injury.
Dismemberment, loss of an unborn child, disfigurement, amputation, and blindness are considered severe injuries that allow for this legal pursuit. It should be noted that if you lost a loved one in a car accident to an uninsured motorist, you can also file a wrongful death claim to seek these damages. The best course of action is to speak with a personal injury lawyer to help determine the validity and strength of your case.
Steps to Take After Your Accident with an Uninsured Motorist
The aftermath of any accident is often confusing, though you must try to remember the steps to take to protect your legal rights. First, you should contact the police to file a report. This is an especially important step if the other driver has no insurance — though when you have significant damage to your vehicle or have injuries, you must report it.
Additionally, calling the police to the accident scene can ensure you get medical attention. You may have injuries that aren’t obvious, such as a traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding. These can become life-threatening if you do not get the treatment you need.
Both the police report and your medical treatments serve as evidence if you choose to take legal action. If you’re able to speak to the other driver, you’ll need to exchange your information. This may be when you learn they are not insured. Gather the information that you can along with photos and videos of the accident scene. You can also speak with witnesses and have them state what they saw.
Armed with this information, you will need to contact your auto insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible. Since you will go through your own insurer first, they must know about the accident, even if it wasn’t your fault. Your uninsured motorist coverage should help take care of your expenses, but it may not be enough to mitigate all these sudden costs.
The insurance company will open up an investigation into your claim. They will determine if you may receive compensation for your injuries. If they do, it will likely be for an amount much lower than the worth of your claim. Naturally, this can be frustrating. After all, you weren’t the one to cause the accident, and you have insurance coverage. Why should you be stuck with all these extra expenses because of someone else’s negligent actions?
This is why many drivers in New York seek legal representation following a car accident, especially when they find out that the other driver is uninsured.
Why a Car Accident Attorney Is Essential in Crashes with Uninsured Motorists
Recovering damages from an uninsured driver is always a complicated matter. If you have suffered serious injuries, it may be impossible for you to gather the evidence you need or devote your energy to negotiating with the insurance company.
Some situations become even more complex when you have been in a multi-vehicle crash with an uninsured motorist, the driver was working for a third-party company, or there were vehicle defects that led to the wreck. This means you can pursue a lawsuit with these other parties if it is determined they played a role.
Hiring an attorney means you don’t have to worry about holding the right person or entity accountable. They can uphold all legal deadlines, thoroughly investigate, and take over communications with the insurance company. If negotiations for a settlement aren’t forthcoming, your personal injury attorney can move ahead with a lawsuit.
Ultimately, being hit by a driver without insurance in New York can worsen an already difficult situation. The way to receive money for your losses is to understand how these no-fault laws and your uninsured motorist coverage affect you. Now that you know you have the right to pursue a lawsuit rather than sink into debt because of someone else’s carelessness, you can take appropriate action.