Despite laws in almost every state that require drivers to carry car insurance, millions of people still take to the road uninsured. If you get into an accident with one of them, you may wonder how to go about getting your car fixed and medical expenses covered. Here are some essential questions to ask and steps to take.
Questions to Ask
To determine your next steps, you need to answer a few fundamental questions.
- Who is at fault for the accident?
- Do you need a police report? The answer is usually yes. Insurance companies almost always require a police report to file a claim to establish who is at fault, especially if one of the parties is uninsured or underinsured. Exchanging insurance information is insufficient because it may or may not be valid. A driver could provide you with the documentation for a lapsed policy. The police report will also give you proof that the other party was uninsured.
- What are the laws of your jurisdiction? Is your state a no-fault state or a tort state? If your state is no-fault, each party is responsible for his or her damages, no matter who caused the accident. Twelve of the 50 states are no-fault. In a tort state, the driver who causes the accident pays for the damages. This practice is applicable even if the party at fault has no insurance.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM and UIM) pays for the damages if you are in an accident with someone who has no insurance or not enough insurance. It may cover fixing your car, damage to your other property, and your medical expenses. Usually, the insurance company requires your UM and UIM policy limit to be less than or equal to your liability coverage. Please consult your insurance professional for details as they vary by company.
To file a claim under your UM and UIM policy, contact your insurance company to begin the process. You will learn what documentation the insurer needs and how to submit it. Do this as soon as possible since most insurance companies only give you 30 days after the accident to file. Keep careful records and copies of everything you submit.
Help With a Claim
The process of getting a claim paid when the other party is at fault but insured can be a lengthy and complex one. Contact a knowledgeable and experienced Milwaukee personal injury lawyer to safeguard your rights.
Thanks to Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into personal injury claims and car accidents involving an uninsured driver.