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Should You Sue Someone with No Insurance?

Getting into a car accident is frustrating, finding out that the other party is an uninsured motorist makes things even worse. Over the years, there has been a general feeling that we shouldn’t sue somebody with no insurance and that it’s just ‘bad luck’. Is this true? Today, we’re going to explore the topic in more detail. You’ll learn what the law says, what you should do after an accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist, and how we can help at The Injury Firm.

Lack of Insurance - How Does the Law Work?

Unfortunately, it was suggested around a decade ago that nearly 14% of American drivers were on the road without insurance. Considering the number of accidents that happen on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that many involve these uninsured individuals. While some purchase their insurance for vehicle registration and then cancel, others see insurance as an optional expense when times get tough. Either way, it’s frustrating for those who do follow the law.

If you’re involved in a car accident, how does it work? Ultimately, it all depends on the state in which you reside. With some states, that have civil wrong (tort) insurance laws and this means that the insurance of the guilty party is responsible for payments. Without insurance, we can assume the guilty party doesn’t have too many assets and the only option is to hope to recover damages with a car accident lawyer and a prepared lawsuit. In many cases, however, the victims struggle to recuperate enough money.

As a result of this growing problem, more and more insurance companies have allowed their policyholders to add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Although this comes with a small fee, it means that you will have protection even after an accident with someone who has no insurance (or not enough coverage).

On the other hand, other states will have a no-fault law, and this means that the driver (or the insurance company) pays for their own damages regardless of who is to blame. Luckily, the most important detail in these cases is that you’re covered. Whether or not the guilty party has insurance, you will have help. Unfortunately, the downside here is that one’s opportunity to sue is limited with no-fault laws…unless the injuries are severe.

Even with many no-fault states, they still allow for drivers to sue when the damages are serious. As we noted before, adding underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage will allow you to recover more from your insurance in these states.

Uninsured Motorist Protection and Collision Insurance

Currently, this level of protection is normally optional for all motorists. However, the fact that accidents containing uninsured drivers has become so common has forced some states into making it mandatory. Even if it isn’t mandatory, we recommend at least looking into the extra coverage to prevent disappointment should the worst actually happen.

If you choose to take a chance and reject the extra coverage, some providers will actually have you sign a rejection form so that they have this on file. If you get into an accident, you can’t later suggest that you ‘weren’t offered’ the extra service. Also, companies can get into trouble when they don’t at least offer the protection to drivers.

At this point, we should note that uninsured motorist protection will not help with payments for your car. Instead, you should look into collision insurance for this. When coverage is lacking on the other end, this will repair any damage to your vehicle even with hit-and-run accidents. In summary, collision coverage will focus on your vehicle and getting it back up and running while uninsured motorist protection is for yourself and other damages.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Before we go into potential lawsuits and contacting a car accident lawyer, like our professional and reliable team at The Injury Firm, we first want to provide some advice for those who get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Unfortunately, there are some common mistakes that sometimes prevent innocent parties from collecting the compensation they deserve. Instead, follow our advice:

Contact the Police - Of course, the first step should always be contacting the emergency services, and this should happen regardless of the insurance status of the guilty party. With cases containing a lack of insurance, police presence becomes essential because the report will help with your claim and with the expense process.

Never Take Money - It might be tempting to take money when the guilty party shows a wad of cash, but this is their attempt to avoid legal proceedings. When you take money, you’re almost accepting an on-the-spot settlement for an amount much lower than you need and deserve. Instead, even when the money comes with good intentions, trust the law and understand that legal assistance will help you to recover more for your injuries and other damages.

Gather Information - You might not be able to get insurance details from the other party, but this doesn’t mean you walk away empty handed. Instead, get the details of their vehicle and make sure you have a way of contacting them. If any witnesses are nearby, get their contact information too because they will be able to give statements during the claims process.

As well as details of the people involved and witnesses, we also recommend writing down some basic information of your location, the time, and even the badge number and name of the police officer. When working with a car accident lawyer and your insurance company, the more detail the better.

Take Pictures - Finally, smartphones are always within reaching distance these days so take advantage of this fact by taking pictures of the incident. Make sure you get the damage to your vehicle, the other vehicle, traffic signs, direction of traffic, and license plates.

As you can see, it’s all about gathering as much information as you can and being cautious. It might seem like lots of effort, and you might even feel awkward doing some of these things, but it will all help with compensation.

Making Car Accident Claims and Filing Lawsuits

If you have the extra coverage for underinsured or uninsured motorists, your first step will be filing a claim with your insurance company. If you followed our advice in the previous section, this is where all your gathered information will come in handy. After providing your policy number, inform them that the other party doesn’t have insurance. From here, you can provide them with the:

  • Time and location of the incident
  • Contact information of the other party
  • Description of the accident
  • The name and number of the police officer (and the report number)

Additionally, tell them about the other information you took as well as the pictures.

Filing a Lawsuit

As we discovered earlier, those in a no-fault state will always claim through their own insurance provider (no matter whether the responsible driver has coverage or not). Even if the other person was responsible, you may not be able to file a lawsuit in these states. Again, this will change if your injuries are serious or if the resulting medical bills are above a certain point.

In all other cases, we suggest getting in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer. At The Injury Firm, we have years of experience with accidents just like yours and we’re ready to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

If the other driver doesn’t have insurance and you aren’t in a no-fault state, you will need to file a lawsuit, and this will be against the driver themselves since they have no insurance. Will you collect compensation? In some cases, victims have filed a case and received a positive judgement without recovering much money. For this reason, we highly recommend teaming up with experts who have dealt with cases like yours in the past. With the right experience and resources, they will fight for your rights and always keep you in mind when making decisions for the case.

Prevention Over the Cure

To answer the question of this guide, you should sue somebody with no insurance if you’re in a traditional negligence law state. Otherwise, you may not have the option and your own insurance company will deal with the problem. Of course, prevention is always cheaper and more effective than the cure, and this is why we want to finish with some advice for those reading this as a precaution.

As a driver, you can only control your own actions and decisions. Sadly, there are still lots of underinsured and uninsured drivers on the road, so we recommend investing in uninsured motorist coverage. We love helping drivers at The Injury Firm, but we would much rather see people with the right coverage so that they get the right compensation without our help.

If this is too late and you need help, allow our professionals to take the stress from you and lead your case today! Call for a FREE Consultation: 954-951-0000.

The Injury Firm
2000 N.E. 45th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308

Phone (954) 951-0000
Fax: (954) 951-1000
Email: info@flinjuryfirm.com

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Fort Lauderdale

2000 N.E. 45th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308

Phone (954) 951-0000
Fax: (954) 951-1000
Email: records@flinjuryfirm.com

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West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
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The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.  This website may contain information about The Injury Firm's past results, testimonials about the firm or a lawyer within the firm, and statements regarding the quality of The Injury Firm's work product. This information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. Please be advised that: 1) the facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters for which results and testimonials have been provided: 2) Not all results of cases handled by the firm or its lawyers are provided and not all clients have given testimonials; and 3) The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the firm or by its lawyers or of the experience of all clients or others within the firm or its lawyers. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

  

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