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What Happens If The At-fault Party Doesn’t Have Insurance?

Posted December 21, 2023 | Personal Injury Blog

What Happens If The At-fault Party Doesn't Have Insurance?

After a collision, move your vehicle to a safe spot if possible. Check yourself and others for injuries, calling 911 if necessary. Exchange contact information and insurance details with the other drivers. These initial steps are essential. 

Next, you should document the accident. Take pictures of the damage to all involved cars and ask witnesses for their names and phone numbers.

These steps can help facilitate a car accident claim and build a solid personal injury case. Yet, if the at-fault party does not have insurance, you may wonder what happens next. Will you have to cover the bills for medical care and car repairs?

At Fielding Law, one of our guiding principles is to cater to our clients’ needs and to answer their questions. The following guidance can help you if you were hit in an accident by someone who does not have car insurance.

If You Live in a No-Fault State

Some states have laws requiring all registered motorists to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Insured drivers can file claims with their insurance companies when they get into an accident. 

PIP coverage applies to qualifying expenses suffered by the policyholder and his or her passengers. Coverage of the following stands regardless of who was at fault for the collision:

The conditions of insurance policies differ, but an attorney can help you determine reimbursable expenses. In many states, you can also file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You can pursue financial compensation for pain, suffering, and medical costs exceeding your policy limits.

If You Live in an At-Fault State

Most states require all drivers to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage. Yet, about 1 in 8 drivers is uninsured.

Uninsured motorist coverage 

If you get into an auto accident with one of these uninsured motorists, all hope is not lost. In many cases, your existing coverage might protect you if you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. This coverage is either included in a policy or selected as an add-on service.

Since coverage differs by the insurance company and policy type, you must read the fine print or ask your insurance agent about uninsured motorist insurance (UM or UMBI). These policies generally pay medical bills for you and your passengers if the at-fault driver does not have insurance. You can also get reimbursement for lost wages.

Underinsured motorist coverage

Accidents can be expensive, especially if you or a passenger is seriously injured in the crash. Even if the at-fault driver has insurance, the policy limit might not be enough to cover all of your expenses. 

You could be covered by policies such as:

  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): This coverage is for property damage, which is not usually covered by a UM policy
  • Underinsured Motorist Protection (UIM): If the at-fault driver’s liability insurance does not cover your vehicle’s full repair or replacement costs, UIM insurance can provide additional funds to offset the difference

As in no-fault states, you can also sue the at-fault driver for losses incurred in a personal injury accident. In some places, the law prohibits uninsured drivers from suing others for non-economic accident damages. Consulting a local attorney is one of the best ways to determine your rights after a motor vehicle accident involving an uninsured driver. 

If the Driver Leaves the Scene

In a hit-and-run accident, the at-fault party flees without sharing contact information or assistance to the injured. Since the driver is unknown, there is no way of knowing if he or she has insurance. If this happens to you, call the police.

Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal in most places. Making a police report will help all parties involved to investigate your case. If you are able to collect information, write down or take photos of:

  • The license plate number
  • The color, make, and model of the vehicle
  • Any damage to the other vehicle
  • The direction the other vehicle headed
  • The location, date, and time of the accident
  • Eyewitness contact details

Next, consider contacting a lawyer. At our law firm, our experienced attorneys can handle all communication with the insurers, saving you the hassle of tedious paperwork and frustrating conversations.

In time, the person who hit you might be found and face criminal charges and liability for the accident losses. If not, many liability and PIP insurance plans pay for third-party damages and injuries. Your collision or UM policy might pay for property damage and other expenses. 

What if the liable party gives you false contact information? Many insurance companies treat this situation as a hit-and-run, so you would still be entitled to your policy benefits.

If You Pay a Deductible 

deductible is the amount you must pay before the insurance policy starts covering expenses. Suppose you have a $500 deductible and your auto repairs total $5000. You would be responsible for paying the first $500, but your insurance would pay the remaining $4500. 

Not all policies have a deductible. If yours does, its amount might vary depending on your premium and your level of coverage. Some companies calculate deductibles as a percentage of the total claim value. 

If the identity of a hit-and-run driver is discovered after you pay your deductible, your insurance company might file a claim to recover your money. This process to recover deductibles is called subrogation.

Call Fielding Law for Help With Your Case

Getting hit by an uninsured driver can make you feel hopeless, but you don’t have to give up on compensation for the damages you have suffered. At Fielding Law, we can help you take action to protect your rights

Our experienced attorneys understand how intense the days following any traumatic event can feel. You don’t need more stress or another bill. We don’t charge our clients unless we win compensation, so you can relax knowing you have people who care on your side. 

During your free consultation with us, you can ask your most pressing questions. Our legal staff will advise you of your legal options so you can confidently pursue justice. Schedule your no-obligation case evaluation by calling (877) 880-4090.

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Text edited by Mitchell Fielding, a personal injury lawyer and partner at Fielding Law. Mitchell is known for his hard work ethic, friendly personality and dedication to the law. You can find out personal injury law offices in Taylorsville, UT and Mesquite, TX.