Recovering from an accident can be very challenging. On top of painful physical and emotional injuries, victims often face significant financial damages as well. When victims sustain injuries in car accidents due to the negligence of others, they can file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver to seek monetary compensation. Unfortunately, there are many cases where negligent drivers do not have auto insurance or enough coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute (iii.org), approximately 1 in 10 drivers in Virginia are uninsured.
If you have been in an auto accident where the at-fault party does not have auto insurance or not enough coverage, there are still some options available to help alleviate the costs and damages you face.
What Happens if You Get in an Accident Without Insurance or Not Enough Coverage?
Although being in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or enough coverage can make financial recovery process more complicated, it does not mean that all hope is lost. In Virginia, motorists that have auto insurance coverage also have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to provide them protection during this type of situation. Rather than pursuing a legal claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company, a claim can be filed with your own insurance company by using your uninsured/underinsured coverage. Filing a claim using your uninsured/underinsured coverage does not reflect negatively on your own insurance policy and will not raise your rates. Having insurance (and enough of it) is extremely important to protect you should you find yourself in an accident with an uninsured driver.
What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
In Virginia, when drivers obtain auto insurance, they also receive uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM)coverage to provide them protection should they be involved in a vehicle accident with another driver without insurance. Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will match the same amount that you have in liability coverage. So if you have a liability limit of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident, your UIM coverage limit will also be $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident.
Considering that approximately 10% of drivers in the state of Virginia do not have insurance, it is important that motorists have sufficient insurance coverage to cover any damages that may be caused by another driver’s negligence. Even though Virginia has a minimum of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident coverage requirements, it is highly recommended that you have more than that amount.
Other Legal Options Available to Help You
If you are harmed by a driver in a car accident without insurance or not enough insurance coverage, at-fault drivers can still be held liable for your resulting damages. Filing a personal injury claim against the negligent driver is still an option. However, it is essential to understand that the person may not have a lot of money or assets, which can limit your ability to recover timely compensation.
Your car accident lawyer will be able to meet with you and discuss the best legal options available to help you move forward. Having an experienced attorney on your side that can explore all available insurance coverage options will give you the best possible outcome with regards to your financial recovery.
What to do Following a Motor Vehicle Accident
Regardless of whether a negligent driver has insurance or not, you will need to take several steps to ensure you are protected following an accident. Contact law enforcement right away and have the police come to the scene of the accident. The police will be able to generate a report for the accident and provide you with the contact information of the driver at fault — if you have not already collected this information on your own.You should seek medical attention immediately after the accident. This can help you identify any injuries you may have suffered from in the crash.
Gather the contact information of bystanders who witnessed the accident. Insight from third-party witnesses can help you prove your case to an insurance company. If you are physically able to do so, take pictures of the accident scene. Capture photos of all the involved vehicles, the road conditions, the location, and any injuries you or your passengers suffered.
Finally, you will want to seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer in Virginia right away to help you move forward. Hiring an accident attorney will provide you a better advantage of getting full and fair compensation from the insurance company.
Let Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law Help You
Our dedicated legal team at Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law has over 160 years of combined experience protecting the legal rights of people who have sustained injuries in accidents due to negligence.
Our seasoned lawyers will be able to help you get the money you need and deserve following your accident. Reach out to our Virginia personal injury law firm today and we will schedule you a free initial case evaluation to figure out how we can best help you.
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