If you were injured in a car crash and the person who caused the accident does not have insurance coverage, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company or file a lawsuit against the other driver.
When to File a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company
Several states have no-fault insurance laws. In those areas, when a car accident occurs, each party is required to file a claim with his or her own insurance carrier, regardless of who caused the collision, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). If you live in a no-fault state and you experienced relatively minor injuries, you may be able to recover enough compensation from your own insurance company to fully cover your losses.
If you suffered serious injuries that exceed your insurance policy’s coverage limits, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hit you. Laws in no-fault states allow injured parties to sue if their injuries are serious enough to meet the criteria set by law.
If you live elsewhere and you were hit by a driver who did not have car insurance, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company under your uninsured motorist coverage. That is a form of coverage that is specifically designed to cover people who are injured in accidents caused by others who are driving without insurance.
In some states, uninsured motorist coverage is required by law. In others, drivers are not required to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, but auto insurance companies are required to offer it. If you have uninsured motorist coverage included in your policy, you can submit a claim to your own insurer and receive compensation for your losses, up to your coverage limits.
When to Consider Filing a Lawsuit
If you do not live in a no-fault state and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, another option is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hit you to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. Your attorney may be able to negotiate an out-of-court settlement on your behalf. If that is not possible, your lawyer may take the case to trial.
If you go to court, you may obtain a judgment in your favor, but that does not necessarily mean that you will be able to collect the money. People who drive while uninsured typically do so because they cannot afford to pay high insurance premiums. If the driver who caused the car crash could not afford to purchase insurance, it is unlikely that he or she has substantial assets that could be used to cover a settlement. Suing the other driver under those circumstances therefore may not make sense, even if he or she was clearly liable for the collision.
If you decide to file a lawsuit against the driver who hit you, you will have to do so within the statute of limitations. Each state has a law that limits the amount of time that people who have suffered personal injuries have to sue to seek compensation. Those time frames can vary widely from state to state. In California, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit with the courts. If you miss your state’s deadline, you may lose your right to pursue financial compensation for your losses related to the car accident, even if the other driver was at fault and you have a legitimate claim.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has helped injured drivers and passengers across the United States seek justice for the physical, financial, and emotional harm they suffered due to the negligence of others. We may be able to help you pursue a financial award to compensate you for what you have already suffered and for what you will experience in the future because of the collision.
If you were involved in a car accident and the at-fault driver was uninsured, your options will depend on where you live and the type of insurance coverage you have. If you live in a no-fault state, your own insurance policy may cover your losses, but we may be able to help you file a personal injury lawsuit if your losses exceed your coverage limits. If you do not live in a no-fault state and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, we can discuss whether it would be worthwhile to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who hit you.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm operates on contingency. If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, you will not have to pay us any money upfront. We will only collect a fee if we secure a financial award for you by negotiating or by winning at trial.
A member of our staff can discuss what you have been through, explain insurance laws, and advise you on the best course of action based on your circumstances. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 223-5115 to learn more.