In MA, as in most states, it’s against the law to drive without insurance. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds this law. In fact, nearly 13 percent of all drivers on American roadways are uninsured; that’s about one in eight drivers. If you are involved in an auto accident and the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, what should you do? If you’re not at fault for the accident, the other driver’s insurance should pay for your damages. But if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, who will pay for any resulting medical expenses or vehicle repairs?
The good news is, you can add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) to your existing policy. The bad news is, you can’t add this coverage after an accident with a UIM driver. You have to be proactive. So, what if you’re learning about UIM coverage after it’s too late? A MA auto accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
What to Do Following an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
The steps you should take following an accident with a UIM driver are virtually the same as with any motor vehicle accident.
- Make sure everyone is safe.
- Once you’ve determined that nobody needs immediate medical attention, get the other driver’s information. This includes name, contact information, and driver’s license number. Ask for the other driver’s insurance information.
- Call the police. In addition to providing assistance, police will file a detailed report of the accident. This can be of immense benefit if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
- Contact your insurance company. Tell them you were just involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
- Immediately following the accident, seek medical attention. Injuries can take days or even weeks to appear.
This is where things get a bit more complicated…
Following most auto accidents, medical expenses and vehicle repairs are at least partially paid for by the at-fault driver’s insurance. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, however, you will need to rely on your UIM coverage…if you have it.
- If you have UIM coverage: After you’ve confirmed that the other driver is uninsured, start a UIM claim with your insurance company. If the other driver is under-insured, you should only make a claim for the amount of damages that are over and above the other driver’s policy limits. In such a case, you will need to settle with the other driver’s carrier first. Then you can file with your carrier for any excess amount. Further, your UIM coverage cannot exceed that of your primary coverage. The process of filing a UIM claim is typically longer than for more straightforward claims. A Boston auto accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.
- If you don’t have UIM coverage: If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist and you don’t have UIM coverage, you have the option of suing the other driver. Unfortunately, uninsured and underinsured motorists often – but not always – lack adequate coverage because they lack adequate funds. In layman’s terms, they are broke. And suing someone with little to no assets or money is unlikely to result in significant compensation to cover any damages and injuries. But if this is your only mode of recovery, the court may be able to set up a payment plan. Although this won’t provide immediate relief, it may allow you to gradually pay off outstanding medical expenses and vehicle repair costs.