- May 05, 2022
- Car Accident
When an uninsured driver hits your car and causes injuries, you still may be able to receive damages. However, the process by which you will seek damages will be a bit different than when an insured driver causes an accident. You will need to rely on the uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy – if you have it – to receive compensation.
The car accident lawyers at Montoya Hinckley are ready to help you when you are wondering what to do if you’re hit by an uninsured driver. This type of case can have some complexities that make things difficult for the injured party. You can count on us to work through the case, determine whether you are able to recover even though the at fault driver did not have insurance, and advise you of the best way to move forward.
How Often Do Washington Drivers Fail to Carry Insurance?
According to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner in Washington State, all drivers must carry a mandatory amount of liability insurance. Failure to carry the proper insurance coverage can result in fines and penalties for the offending driver.
Although you may be under the impression that nearly all drivers in the state of Washington follow this law and carry insurance, this is not the case. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the state of Washington has one of the highest percentages of uninsured drivers on its roads compared to other states in the United States. Roughly 1 in 5 drivers in the state do not carry insurance, according to III. This increases the chances that any accident on Washington roads will involve an uninsured driver.
What Happens If You Get in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
If you have uninsured motorist–sometimes abbreviated as “UM”–coverage on your auto insurance policy, your uninsured motorist coverage is available to cover your damages that would otherwise be covered by the at fault party’s insurer. Uninsured motorist coverage specifically kicks in when the other driver doesn’t carry insurance. It should cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life. However, your insurance company may not willingly pay for these damages. You may need to bring a lawsuit to recover these damages.
What Steps Should You Follow After an Accident with a Driver Without Insurance?
Because of the high percentage of potentially uninsured drivers in Washington, it’s helpful to know what you should do if you end up in a crash. Certainly, if you have serious injuries, you will be unable to take most of these steps. But if at all possible, here are some steps to follow when you are hit by an uninsured driver in Washington.
Step 1: Treat It Like Any Other Accident
Even if the other driver admits to not having insurance immediately after the crash, you should always start by checking on the injury status of all of the people involved in the crash. Call emergency personnel to respond to the accident, including law enforcement. Request an ambulance if anyone has serious injuries.
Step 2: Stay at the Scene of the Crash
Do not leave the scene of the accident until law enforcement arrives and clears you to leave. If bystanders witnessed the accident, ask them to stay until law enforcement arrives, so they can give a statement. If they are unwilling to stay, ask them for their name and phone number so that you law enforcement may call them later. Ask any uninjured passengers in your car to remain at the scene, too.
Step 3: Avoid a Confrontation
If the uninsured driver is behaving strangely or if you have a fear about physical harm, wait in your car until police arrive. Do not engage with or argue with the other driver.
If the other driver attempts to flee the scene, do not try to stop him or her. Uninsured motorists may feel like they have nothing to lose by driving away before police arrive. They may end up panicking. If you try to stop them, they may attempt to harm you physically. Take note of any information about the driver and about the car to give to police. Let law enforcement try to track down the driver.
Step 4: Collect Information
If the other driver is not behaving in a threatening manner, ask the driver for contact information. If the driver admits to not having insurance at this point, don’t become angry or confrontational. Let the police handle this part of the situation. Additionally, try to collect contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
Step 5: Contact Your Insurance Company
Once law enforcement arrives and takes over investigating the scene, you then can contact your insurer. You can mention at this point that you believe the other driver does not have insurance.
Step 6: Seek Medical Care
If you suffered injuries in the crash and need to go to the hospital immediately, leaving you unable to perform these steps, don’t worry. Law enforcement investigating the crash will do these things for you. It never hurts to have your own copy of the information, though.
If you do not ride to the hospital in an ambulance, you still need to seek medical care later for your injuries. After a crash, you may have quite a bit of adrenaline in your body that masks pain and injuries. A day or two afterward, though, you may notice some problems. Visit your personal doctor, an urgent care facility, or a hospital to have your injuries checked. Obtaining a medical diagnosis of your injuries will assist you and your medical providers in determining the best course of treatment.
We Can Help When You’re Hit by an Uninsured Driver in Washington
After suffering an accident with an uninsured driver, you may believe you don’t have a lot of options. This is not the case. The fact that you may need to seek damages from your own insurance company can seem odd, but that is how uninsured motorist coverage works. Unfortunately, some insurers still refuse to treat you fairly, even though you have always paid your insurance premiums and you purchased uninsured motorist coverage specifically for this situation. This can be incredibly frustrating.
Montoya Hinckley Understands How to Stand Up to Unfair Insurers
If you find that your own insurance company is not treating you properly, hiring our car accident lawyers to represent you can help. We give our clients the respectful representation they deserve. We work hard to hold the insurance company accountable and to get you the largest settlement possible.
Call Montoya Hinckley as soon as possible at (509) 895-7373 for a free consultation. Once you choose to hire us, we will begin working immediately.