What Should I Do if an Uninsured Motorist Hit My Car?
If you learn nothing else, learn that you need uninsured motorist coverage (maximum limits if you can). This is absolutely a must for any responsible person. The coverage is usually cheap, but invaluable if something happens.
Every time you get into your car, you’re taking a risk. Driving can be dangerous, especially since other drivers may not be paying attention, may be preoccupied, or may have some trouble with their vehicle that puts you at risk.
One thing gives you peace of mind, however: You’re insured, and other drivers (legally at least) need to be insured as well. Though that’s the law, the truth is that not everyone is insured.
Many motorists are not insured. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 13% of drivers on the road are not insured, which equals about one in eight drivers. In California alone, 15.2% of drivers are uninsured, even though the minimum coverage required is $15,000/$30,000 liability.
If you are driving and a motorist without insurance hits you, there are steps you need to take to ensure you are protected moving forward.
How to Handle an Uninsured Motorist
Let’s say you’re sitting at a stop sign when, suddenly, the car behind you crashes into you. Though you experience some whiplash, you don’t appear to have any serious injuries. You get out of your car, and ask to exchange insurance information with the driver who hit you. They tell you they don’t have any insurance. What now?
What should you do?
The first step is to call the police. You’ll need a record of the incident to prove that it actually happened. You should take pictures of the car that hit you, the other person’s registration and driver’s license, your car and the surrounding scene. If there are any witnesses around, you should gather their information, too. And you’ll also need the phone number for the person who hit you, even though they are uninsured.
You never know what the extent of your injuries will be, and you’re likely not thinking very clearly after being hit. You could rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills, and you need to take steps so you can get those bills covered.
Don’t confront the driver or get mad at them for hitting you and/or being uninsured – it will do no good. Though it’s an incredibly frustrating situation, you need to keep your cool for the sake of your possible legal case and your health and well-being.
Once you’ve exchanged information and you’ve filed your police report, you should go to the hospital or doctor to get examined right away. The doctor may conduct different tests to see what kinds of injuries you may have sustained. If at any point you feel further pain, you need to go immediately to get checked out and get a treatment plan. You’ll need to follow what your doctor says, taking prescription medicine they may administer or prescribe and going for tests they order.
After you go to the hospital, you’ll need to call your insurance company to file a claim and let them know the other driver was uninsured. Tell them the details of the incident as well as the contact information for the other driver. You may want to contact an attorney even before the call to the insurance company, although you must call the company as soon as you can, and certainly that day if possible.
You can also hire a personal injury lawyer to step in and help. They will be able to negotiate on your behalf and give you more power in a situation where you may feel powerless.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
While a personal injury lawyer can help you bring legal action against the driver, chances are, you may not be able to collect a settlement because it’s very possible that they don’t have any money. You could end up spending money on legal representation and still not be able to recoup the costs or even the costs for your medical bills.
A personal injury lawyer can help in many other ways. They will be able to assist you with multiple steps during your claims process. They can collect your medical and police records, reach out to witnesses and above all, negotiate a settlement with your insurance company. Your coverage steps in to the place of the person that caused the accident and pays as if they insured that person. This is why it is so necessary to have this coverage.
Trying to negotiate with an insurance company can be very difficult since they often try to avoid payouts, delay resolving claims and, when they do pay, want to pay very little. An experienced personal injury lawyer is going to have the necessary skills and experience to talk with your insurance company and reach a settlement. Then, you won’t have to worry and you can spend your time healing from your injuries instead.
The personal injury lawyer will look at all the bills and losses you might have experienced due to your injury. You may need to take your car in for a repair or call in sick due to your injuries, or go to a doctor’s appointment, thus leading to a loss of income. They will be able to accurately calculate your damages and advocate for exactly what kind of settlement you deserve.
Plus, your personal injury lawyer won’t get paid unless you do. They take their fee out of your final settlement. That usually means they don’t take on cases they don’t believe in. If they’re willing to work with you, it means they want to help you in retrieving just compensation. This includes medical bills (past and future), loss of earnings and earning capacity, and general damages (pain and suffering).
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may be worried about what kind of legal action you can take. However, with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your corner, you can rest easy that your case is in the right hands and you have a fair shot at getting what’s rightfully yours.
If you’re ready to pursue your personal injury claim, then call the personal injury attorneys at Heiting & Irwin at 951-682-6400, or contact our office online to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible. We can get you the compensation you deserve in your personal injury case.