What Are Your Options If You’re Hit By an Uninsured Driver?
Getting into a car accident in itself can be a drawn-out and awful experience, especially if the other driver is at fault. If you are hit by another driver on the road the only thing you should have to worry about is the health and safety of those in the car. It is what happens after the accident itself that can linger for weeks, costing you valuable time and money. Now, usually, it is part of the job of the insurance companies to handle the effects after an accident to help ease your mind and your wallet. But, what if the driver who hits your car doesn’t have insurance? Who will pay for the damages?
What Are The Rules About Owning Car Insurance in Pennsylvania
All drivers in Pennsylvania are required to maintain the state’s minimum insurance requirements. However, contrary to what you see on insurance websites, mandatory coverage in Pennsylvania DOES NOT include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Pennsylvania is also a no-fault state, which complicates matters a bit more. This means that, regardless of who shoulders the most responsibility for the accident, both parties turn to their own insurance companies in search of compensation for lost wages and medical expenses.
The state allows drivers to choose between no-fault insurance and traditional insurance. With traditional insurance, you maintain the right to sue the at-fault party. However, no-fault insurance limits a driver’s right to sue, unless the accident meets specific medical thresholds such as serious or permanent impairment of bodily function or disfigurement.
Uninsured & Underinsured Coverage Explained
Auto insurance companies offer a range of elective coverages including uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM).
Uninsured motorist (UM) — This coverage applies to you, relatives residing in your household, and passengers, if injured by an at-fault uninsured motorist OR hit and run driver. This coverage DOES NOT include property damage.
Underinsured motorist (UIM) — This coverage applies to you, relatives residing in your household, and passengers, if injured by an at-fault motorist who does not have ENOUGH insurance to pay your claim. This coverage DOES NOT include property damage
However, even with these additional coverages, car accident victims may still face compensation obstacles against greedy insurance companies. Hiring an NJ car accident attorney to help you navigate this process can help get you the justice and monetary compensation you deserve.
Can I Sue an Uninsured/Underinsured Driver?
What if the at-fault driver is uninsured? Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, you may get stuck with the bills. While it’s possible to sue an uninsured driver, the only way it works out for you is if the driver has personal assets available to reimburse your losses. In many cases, the uninsured driver won’t have the financial means to compensate the victim, so litigation isn’t a viable course of action. Adding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your insurance policy is the best way to protect yourself from harm caused by uninsured and underinsured drivers.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, your only option may be to pursue litigation. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, it may be possible to hold the uninsured driver who caused your crash personally accountable for the damages you suffered.
However, there are some downfalls to filing a civil suit against an uninsured driver. Even if we win your case, the driver may not have the assets to cover your damages. Without an insurance company to back them, you can only collect the resources they have available. For this reason, it is important to know about their financial standing before we file a lawsuit.
If you have been injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, contact an attorney at Richard Hollawell. We can help you review the facts of your case, explain your options for trying to get the money you need, conduct a full investigation into the cause of your accident, prove the at-fault driver acted negligently and is liable, collect documentation of your accident-related damages, put a fair value on your case, and file an uninsured motorist claim and negotiate with the insurance company, if possible. Set up a free consultation today or call Rick directly over the phone at 800-681-3550.
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