How Does Liability Work in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
Liability works the same for uninsured accidents as it does for other accidents. Insurance status does not change who is at fault.
To determine liability in any auto insurance claim, negligence must be established. This means proving a driver did not obey the rules of the road and that their behavior resulted in a crash and damages.
Liability in a car accident can be proven through evidence such as:
- Images and videos of the accident, including damage and injuries
- Your medical records
- Statements from accident reconstruction experts
- Police reports
- Eyewitness accounts
- Dashcam footage
- Traffic or surveillance camera footage
Our team will collect necessary evidence that proves the other driver is at fault. From there, we will establish the elements of negligence.
Your Legal Options After an Uninsured Accident
Having your insurance rates go up after an accident with an uninsured driver can be frustrating. You might feel like you’re the one being penalized for their wrongdoing. However, you can still take legal action to ease your financial responsibility and hold them accountable.
If the driver who hit you lacked insurance, there are two legal options to consider. You may either file a claim with your own insurance or file a personal injury lawsuit.
File a Claim with Your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance
As the name suggests, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects you after an accident with an uninsured driver. UM coverage can also apply in hit-and-run accidents if the other driver can’t be located. Alternatively, underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage offers protection when the other driver has some insurance but does not fully cover your damages.
Your insurance policy might automatically include these types of coverage. If not, they must offer them as an option. Should you decline UM or UIM coverage, you must complete forms to waive them.
It is important to note that having UM coverage can benefit you after an accident with an uninsured driver. With it, you may file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance provider. Your insurance company will then pay for your damages as your policy allows.
Why Should I Have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
These types of coverage are optional in Pennsylvania. You may assume paying for this kind of protection is unnecessary since PA law requires motorists to be insured. However, studies have shown an estimated six percent of drivers in Pennsylvania are without auto insurance.
While this might seem like a small number, Lancaster is one of the top 10 PA counties when it comes to car accidents. Having UM and UIM coverage can be a safeguard if an accident happens. You will have the chance to recover financially after an accident, even if the other driver is in that six percent.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver
A second option to take legal action is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This would require additional time and effort, but it might be the only route for you to recover compensation. If you do not have UM or UIM coverage, winning a lawsuit can help you pay for damages. Or, if you have UM coverage, but it does not cover all your losses, you may pursue a lawsuit to mitigate out-of-pocket expenses.
When filing a lawsuit, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable lawyer who knows Pennsylvania insurance and car accident laws inside and out. They should have complex litigation and court experience to help you achieve your desired outcome.
Possible Damages in an Uninsured Accident Case
In any car accident case, there are consequences for you and your property. These are called damages or losses, and you can recover compensation for them.
Damages for uninsured accident cases may be economic or non-economic. Economic damages are past and future expenses, such as medical treatment, car repairs, and lost wages due to missing work. Non-economic damages are intangible and cannot be calculated easily. They include compensation for things like pain and suffering, disfigurement or scarring, and loss of enjoyment of life.
You might seek compensation for wrongful death if a loved one was killed in an uninsured accident. Compensation could help with funeral costs, provide support for your loss and grief, and more.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
Statutes of limitations vary from state to state. These are essentially a time limit on when you can file a personal injury claim. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is two years. If you choose to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver in PA, it must be done within this period. This does not include insurance claims, which depend on your company and policy.
How Can an Uninsured Accident Attorney Help?
You may wonder how an uninsured accident attorney can assist you after your crash. An experienced lawyer can collect evidence, answer questions, guide you through the insurance and legal process, and help you file a claim or lawsuit.
Victims of car accidents can focus more on recovery when a lawyer helps their case. You deserve to move on after an uninsured accident and to have an advocate on your side who helps you get there.
Contact an Accident Lawyer at Atlee Hall Today
Our mission at Atlee Hall is to make Lancaster and Pennsylvania safer. We know car accidents can be stressful, and confusing insurance matters can make them even harder to handle alone. That is why we are dedicated to helping clients through the process. We will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Atlee Hall can help hold uninsured drivers accountable for their negligence and bring closure.
Contact us today at (717) 393-9596 or use our online contact form for a free consultation.