According to a 2014 study conducted by the Insurance Information Institute, in 2012, 12.6 percent of motorists, or about one in eight, were uninsured in the United States. Oklahoma had the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the US, with 26 percent, and Massachusetts had the lowest, coming in at just 4 percent. Washington, DC, came in at about the middle, with 11.9 percent of drivers not having any automobile insurance. Considering this information, your chances of getting hit by an uninsured driver in DC aren’t incredibly high, but it is still a possibility. If this happens, do you know what your options are? Car insurance plays an important role in all accidents. When two insured motorists are involved in a collision, they both report the accidents to their insurance companies. The insurance company will then likely conduct an investigation into the accident and determine who is at fault and if the victim is entitled to receive any compensation. Typically, any money that the victim receives comes from the insurance company. But what happens when the person at fault doesn’t have insurance—where does the money come from, then? Are accident victims left to pay for all of their current and future medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and time lost from work on their own?
Receiving Compensation From an Uninsured Driver
Perhaps the most difficult part of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver is not getting the verdict you want, but actually getting the compensation that is owed to you. Any money you are entitled to will have to come directly from the person who hit you, since that person isn’t covered by insurance. The problem is, people who don’t have car insurance typically don’t have it because they are unable to pay for it. If a driver can’t pay monthly insurance fees, he likely can’t pay for any compensation either.
Because of the situation, it makes sense for most accident victims who were hit by uninsured drivers to make claims against their own insurance companies, using their uninsured driver coverage. The amount that you are able to make a claim for is the amount that your coverage is worth. For example, if you have $100,000 worth of uninsured driver coverage, you can make a claim up to $100,000 if it is determined that that is what your claim is worth.
Just like in typical car accident claims, the insurance company will launch an investigation, examine your medical records, and speak with witnesses. After that, the company will likely offer a settlement amount. If you don’t agree with the amount that is offered, your only option then is to go through arbitration. Arbitration is a hearing in front of a single arbitrator, or a panel of three arbitrators, who will decide if the insurance company should pay you more. If you are still unsatisfied with the amount offered, you can appeal, but your options are very limited.
Don’t Delay When Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim
Insurance companies are very particular when it comes to accepting uninsured motorist claims. They often have small time frames for which you are able to file this type of claim. Sometimes accident victims only have 30 days from the date of the accident to file claims. If the claims are not filed in this time period, the claim will likely be denied. Therefore, if the driver at fault tells you he doesn’t have insurance, he won’t give you his insurance information, you can’t obtain the insurance information in any other manner, the insurance information was wrong, or you simply have a hunch that the person doesn’t have insurance, make a claim with the insurance company immediately.
Don’t Let the Insurance Company Take Advantage of You
Although it may seem as though you don’t have any rights when it comes to filing an uninsured motorist claim, you actually do. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to receive the highest possible amount of compensation. You will especially need the help of a lawyer if your case goes to arbitration, as you’ll need someone there to present your evidence and information in a compelling manner. The attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, LLP may be able to do this for you. Schedule an appointment to speak with one of our legal professionals by calling 855.947.0707 and find out if we can help.