Getting into a car accident can be a harrowing experience, but at least you have some comfort knowing that your insurance will cover medical bills or other damages. However, what happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance? With one in eight drivers being uninsured, this scenario is more common than you think.
The question is, how can you get your money back from the other party? You can file a personal injury lawsuit, but getting compensation from an uninsured driver can be an uphill battle. Therefore, most drivers will choose to file a claim under their uninsured motorist coverage with help from a professional lawyer.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage: How Does It Work?
If you had an accident with an uninsured driver, you’d have to file a claim with your insurance company for your expenses. In New York, drivers must purchase uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage of at least $25,000 per driver and $50,000 per accident. Depending on your UIM coverage plan, it can include everything from personal injuries to car damage and replacement.
After an accident, you must notify your insurance company that the other driver was uninsured. You will also need concrete evidence and documentation that they were at fault for you to qualify for a payout. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to file your claim, handle your paperwork, and deal with your insurance company can be incredibly helpful during this process.
How much you’ll receive will come down to the exact amount of your insurance. For example, if your coverage is $75,000, you can only claim up to $75,000. Anything over that amount will require you to pay out-of-pocket or file a lawsuit for the remaining expenses.
Should You File A Personal Injury Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Driver?
Unless the at-fault driver has other assets, filing a lawsuit doesn’t guarantee you’ll receive anything from them. 82% of uninsured drivers cannot afford car insurance, so the chance of an at-fault driver reimbursing you out-of-pocket is unlikely.
To prevent the defendant from unloading their assets during the trial, your lawyer can run a credit check and file a lien. Even if uninsured drivers can pay, they may choose a long-term payment plan. If that is the case, it may take longer for you to get your total payout rather than simply filing a claim with your insurance company.
New York No-Fault Insurance Laws Can Help You
Because New York is a no-fault state, a cyclist, pedestrian, driver, or passenger can be reimbursed up to $50,000 by their insurance company, regardless of who caused the accident. Also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), this system makes sure that pedestrians and drivers involved in accidents can receive the assistance they need and return to their everyday lives as quickly as possible.
While it may not cover car damages, it covers essentials like medical expenses and up to 80% of lost wages. You can always make a separate claim for your vehicle without any restrictions. To qualify for these benefits, you must file a PIP application within 30 days of the accident.
What To Do Immediately After Your Accident
Before filing a personal lawsuit, there are a few steps you need to take immediately after your accident with an uninsured driver.
Call Emergency Services
Even if the accident is minor, contact emergency services immediately. A police officer must file a report, especially if the at-fault driver is uninsured. That report can be essential evidence when you decide to sue the other party.
Take Detailed Photos and Notes Of The Scene
It is always better to provide as much documentation as possible when filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit. Taking detailed photos and notes of car and property damages, the driver’s license plate, or other relevant information prove that you have been involved in an accident with the other party. It can also help insurance agents, and police investigators clearly understand what happened.
See If There Were Any Witnesses Present
If there were any witnesses, try to get a statement from them immediately. Credible witnesses can notify investigators of what they saw, providing valuable information and facts about the accident. Make sure to write down or record everything to avoid forgetting any relevant information later.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help You
You may be wondering if filing a personal injury lawsuit is the right decision if you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. Every accident is unique, and a professional lawyer can help you determine what steps you should take next. At Edelman, Krasin, & Jaye, PLLC, we offer more than 60 years of combined experience. We have convenient office locations in Long Island, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, and we know how to approach these cases to get the results you need. Our firm is committed to bringing the compensation you deserve. Contact our New York offices by phone at 800-469-7429 to schedule an appointment. You can also contact us using our online contact form and our Live Chat application on our website to have your questions answered.