Being in a car accident can be frightening and frustrating all by itself. Imagine then, how much more frustrating it would be to deal with the damage when you find out that the other driver had no auto insurance. What are your options? How will you get your car fixed? Who will pay your medical bills? Is there anything you can do?
There are ways to recover from an accident, even if the other driver did not have insurance in place. Some of the options are easier than others, but at least there are options, even if they require some work on your part.
Option one- Make a claim against your own auto insurance policy. Since you were not at fault in the accident your rates should not increase. If you are carrying collision coverageon your car insurance policy, meaning that you have protection for damage done to your car in an accident, all you will have to do is pay your deductible. In this case, the insurance company will take care of the rest. The insurance company will pay for the repairs to your car. The insurance company will then use a process called subrogation in an attempt to recover the money they paid out for your repairs from the responsible party. If everything goes well, your insurance company will recover all of the money including your deductible. If they recover the deductible, it will be returned to you.
Collision coverage only protects the car for damage it receives, what about you? How are your injuries paid for? It is possible that your car insurance policy has a coverage called medical payments coverage/personal injury protection. This coverage is designed to help cover your medical expenses resulting from an accident. The amount this coverage will pay out would have been determined at the time you purchased your insurance policy, or the last time you reviewed and updated your insurance coverage.
If you declined to purchase medical payments coverage/personal injury protection you may still have some protection from uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is intended to help pay for injuries you sustain in an accident where the driver at fault had no insurance. If you declined to carry uninsured motorist coverage, your options for recovery are limited to making a claim against your health insurance policy or filing a lawsuit against the person at fault.
Option two- File a lawsuit. As mentioned above, if you have not purchased coverages to protect yourself medically, you may have to file a lawsuit against the driver at fault. The same is true with regard to collision coverage. If your car insurance policy does not include collision coverage, your option for recovery is either small claims court or filing a full blown lawsuit depending on the amount of damage done to your car in the accident. This option takes time and effort and the payoff you receive may be minimal if anything at all. Many people who do not carry auto insurance also do not much in the way of financial means. So, even if you file a lawsuit and win, you may get nothing.
There are options to help you recover after an accident, some are easier to deal with than others. The easiest way to be sure that you will be proteced if you are in an accident with someone who has no insurance is to review your auto insurance policies on a regular basis and make sure you have the coverage that will protect you and your family.