It is commonly know that you can’t squeeze blood from a stone, and the same could be said for getting money for injuries from uninsured or underinsured drivers. Of course everyone is technically liable for the injuries they cause due to negligence, which is one reason that state minimum insurance requirements exist.
But cases have to be proven and you must successfully sue to collect damages, and there may be little point to suing someone who cannot afford any insurance, although a negligence case shouldn’t be ruled out entirely. Still, you do have some options. So let’s take a look at cars, insurance, and accidents.
State Insurance Requirements
According to the Insurance Research Council, one in seven motorists is uninsured. Although every state — besides Virginia and New Hampshire — has minimum insurance requirements for motorists, the coverage amounts will vary from state to state.
Even in a place like New Hampshire, which does not require insurance for most motorists, there are “financial responsibility” laws requiring evidence of the ability to handle an accident financially. Meanwhile, in Missouri, uninsured drivers are barred from suing an insured motorist for non-economic losses arising from accidents.
Even though the insurance requirements exist to protect drivers, not everyone follows the rules. As a result, you could find yourself in an accident with that one in seven drivers who is insufficiently covered or has no insurance at all. Here’s how to handle it.
Uninsured Driver Liability
If you do get in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should be extra vigilant about your own insurance claim. There are a few ways you might be able to recover all of your expenses. For example, if you’re injured and have health insurance, you may get treatment coverage through your health insurance and payments for car repair from your own insurer.
But you can also file an uninsured or underinsured driver claim with your auto insurance. Some people prepare for all eventualities by actually paying for this and having this be an element of their policy. If you have that, then you should be good.
But even if you do not, you may be able to attempt recovery through your insurer under this provision. Be warned, however, that if the claim is denied and you were contemplating suing your insurer for coverage, that’s probably impossible because chances are good that you have already entered into a binding arbitration agreement.
Talk to a Lawyer
Although lawyers don’t know the secret to squeezing blood from a stone, an attorney may have alternative options for you to consider pursuing based on the details of your case. It’s always worth your while to talk to someone and get guidance. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to talk to you about your accident and any potential claims.
- Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Driving Without Valid/Sufficient Insurance (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Help! I’ve Been Hit by an Uninsured Driver (FindLaw’s Injured)
- Car Insurance Claims Dos and Don’ts (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)