The phrase “I don’t have insurance” is not what you want to hear from the other driver after a collision. But yet it can and does happen. What do you do if you find yourself in this situation?
In Virginia, uninsured vehicle owners may have to pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee if they don’t have insurance at the time of the event. It’s estimated that up to 10 percent of Virginia drivers don’t carry insurance!
Hopefully, the incident didn’t involve a hit and run, in which case it will be hard to try and locate the other driver. Let’s assume the driver who hit you stuck around afterwards and tried to be cooperative yet admitted he or she had no insurance. Let’s also assume that you yourself have adequate insurance coverage. In this case, you will mostly likely have to file the claim with your own insurance to cover the damages. It may also be prudent to hire a car accident attorney in Southwest Virginia to ensure you are compensated fairly.
Steps to Take When Hit By An Uninsured Motorist
It’s important to follow these steps after a collision with an uninsured motorist in Virginia.
- Call the police. They will show up on the scene and generate a police report that you will need to file a claim or a lawsuit later.
- Call for medical help if injuries were sustained. This will document any injuries sustained as a result of the collision.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver. Even though they don’t have insurance information to give you, make sure you get their name, address, phone number, license number, and make and model of the car.
- Take photos of the areas of damage to the vehicles as well as the surrounding scene.
- Get statements from witnesses who saw the collision occur.
- Don’t take any money from the uninsured motorist, as this could be seen as taking a settlement for damages at the time of the collision. Also, the cash offered will almost always be much too low to properly compensate you for damages and injuries.
In the end, there are ways to get compensated for damages even if the other driver is uninsured. You have two options:
- File a claim with your own insurance company: You will likely be able to qualify for compensation through your own insurance policy.
- File a lawsuit against the uninsured driver: You can seek damages against the other driver as part of a personal injury lawsuit. Just keep in mind that if the driver couldn’t afford car insurance, he or she probably doesn’t have many assets to give you in a settlement or court battle.
In any case, it’s helpful to speak with a car accident lawyer in Southwest Virginia to see if bringing a lawsuit against the uninsured driver would even be worth it in the end. If your lawyer determines it is a good idea to move forward, you could collect compensation for:
- Property damage
- Personal injury
- Pain and suffering
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lifestyle adjustments
The first step is to report the collision to your car insurance company to see how your coverage applies.
Contact Altizer Law
If you have been in a collision with a driver who does not have auto insurance and you’re running into problems with getting fairly compensated, contact us at 540-345-2000 for a free, no-obligation consultation with our Southwest Virginia car accident law firm.