A car accident can prove extremely traumatic—and very expensive. You have the high cost of medical expenses related to your accident, and you may end up out of work while you recover. Additionally, you may have to repair or replace your vehicle while recovering from serious injuries.
Then the news drops: the motorist who hit you did not have insurance. Now what? If you have had an accident with an uninsured driver, you need a lawyer on your side. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP online or by phone (212) 445-7000 to learn more about your rights and how to protect yourself in an uninsured and/or underinsured motorist accident.
Why Drivers Do Not Carry Insurance
An estimated one in eight drivers across the United States does not carry insurance. Some states fair better, like New York, with about a 4.1 percent of uninsured drivers, and New Jersey, with just 3.1 percent of drivers without insurance. You may still end up in a wreck with a driver who does not carry the vital insurance that would cover the expenses for your damages.
Drivers typically fail to carry adequate auto insurance for several reasons.
Cost often tops the list of reasons not to carry insurance. Many people must maintain a vehicle to get to and from work or get around areas of New York and New Jersey, despite public transportation options in their larger cities. Unfortunately, keeping up with a car can be extremely expensive. Car insurance, in particular, can be one of the highest costs, especially for young drivers, drivers with tickets on their record, or drivers who have caused previous accidents. As a result, many drivers choose to forego their auto insurance.
Many auto insurance policies have now gone to an automatic payment method that makes it much easier for drivers to make sure insurance gets paid on time. Unfortunately, some drivers still allow their policies to expire, often due to forgetfulness. They may fail to realize their policy has expired until an accident occurs, which leaves them with little idea of how to cover the damages associated with the accident—and the injured victim unable to seek compensation.
Poor Driving Record
Some people, especially those with a poor driving record, may struggle to secure insurance. In many cases, insurance companies will raise the cost of their policies for the increased risk they face when insuring those drivers. The insurance company may also refuse to insure a driver if they have caused numerous accidents in the past.
Invalid or No Driver’s License
A driver may need to show a driver’s license to secure insurance. Some people may not have a license for several reasons. Some may not have the paperwork needed to prove their legal identity, which prevents them from securing a license. Others may have had their license revoked, or it expired.
What Happens After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
The events following an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, should play out similarly to those with an insured driver. You should always report the accident to the police immediately.
The other driver may not want to report the accident because they lack a driver’s license or past violations. However, reporting the accident always works in your favor. It creates a police report that will establish when and where the accident occurred and who caused it, according to the police. The police can also take action against the uninsured driver, as driving without insurance is a legal offense.
When the time comes to exchange insurance information, the other driver may not have that information or may provide information for an expired policy.
What do you do now?
As a New York or New Jersey driver, you may still have options for compensation through an uninsured motorist policy. If you carry collision or comprehensive insurance on your policy, it likely includes compensation for an accident with an uninsured driver. Even if you only carry liability coverage on your vehicle, you may have an uninsured motorist policy rider that will cover the cost of damages caused by an uninsured driver.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP Can Help with Uninsured Motorist Claims
When you file a claim through your own insurance company, you may assume that the company will automatically provide you with the compensation you deserve for the damages sustained in the accident. However, pursuing the full compensation you deserve may take more effort than anticipated. Working with a car accident lawyer like the experienced team of attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP can help.
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we believe that everyone should get affordable legal assistance following an accident. We aim to help our clients understand and pursue the full compensation they deserve for serious accidents, whether that means dealing with their own or the other driver’s insurance company.
We help review your policy and make sure you understand your right to compensation through your uninsured motorist policy.
Often, insurance companies will not offer a full breakdown of the damages you can recover for your injuries—and they certainly will not offer maximum compensation on their own.
Since you have to deal with your insurance for an uninsured motorist claim, you may assume that you will have an easier time getting the coverage and compensation you deserve. However, your insurance company may still fight to minimize the compensation it pays out or may not offer the full compensation you deserve.
Talk to the experienced personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP to maximize your compensation. We can work through the full extent of your financial losses due to your accident with an uninsured motorist.
We deal with the insurance company for our clients.
You may find it more difficult to aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve when dealing with your own insurance company, especially with the same representative you speak with regularly. Many people have difficulty standing up for themselves as they pursue compensation in a car accident claim.
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we deal with the insurance company for our clients, which can help keep the claim process on track and relieve stress about the potential outcome.
We ensure our clients know what to expect as they manage an uninsured motorist claim.
Any insurance claim can prove very stressful. In a perfect world, you would know how much compensation you should expect, when to expect it, and what information you have to provide in the meantime to streamline that claim process. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of your claim or how it will progress, we can help break down the process and make it easier for you to know what comes next.
What Compensation Can You Recover as Part of an Uninsured Motorist Claim?
If you carry uninsured motorist coverage, filing a claim against your insurance works much like filing a claim against another driver’s insurance company. You can pursue compensation in several categories.
Damage to Your Vehicle
Most people know that uninsured motorist coverage includes repairs to your vehicle after the accident. An accident can cause significant damage, including the need to repair or replace a vehicle after the accident.
Your insurance company will typically have your vehicle evaluated by a professional who determines what damage your vehicle sustained and what steps you need to take. Then, the insurance company will offer a settlement amount for your vehicle replacement. If you choose to repair your vehicle, you may have those fees paid directly to the repair shop that will do the work.
Your uninsured motorist coverage may include compensation for the medical costs sustained in your accident. Often, medical bills accrue exponentially following a serious accident. If you have high medical bills that exceed the coverage offered by your personal injury protection insurance (PIP), you can include those bills as part of your uninsured motorist claim.
Keep track of any medical bills associated with your accident, including any copay or deductible amounts that you pay for services. Those costs often sneak by you, leaving uncovered medical expenses.
PIP Coverage and Medical Costs
In New York and New Jersey, drivers must have personal injury protection insurance and liability coverage on their vehicles. PIP coverage exists to provide financial protection for drivers who may sustain serious injuries in an accident. Your PIP coverage kicks in immediately after an accident, regardless of who causes it.
You will use your PIP coverage to take care of any medical bills first. If you have relatively low medical costs and they do not exceed the coverage offered by your PIP insurance, you may not need to include your medical costs as part of an uninsured motorist claim.
Missing work after your accident can prove just as financially problematic as your medical costs or, in some cases, more so. Your uninsured motorist coverage may protect against lost wages due to car accident injuries. Talk to your lawyer about work you’ve missed, including immediately after the accident, part-time restrictions because of your injuries, and any time missed due to follow-up appointments with medical care providers.
Many auto insurance claims will also include compensation for the pain and suffering the victim experienced after the accident. A claim against your uninsured motorist coverage may also cover that pain and suffering. Your lawyer can calculate your non-economic losses, including impacts on your quality of life and relationships due to your injuries.
Will My Insurance Go up After an Uninsured Motorist Claim?
Whether your insurance rates go up after an uninsured motorist claim may depend on your specific insurance company, the specifics of your accident, and the state where your accident occurred. Your lawyer can answer questions about insurance increases you might face due to an uninsured motorist claim. They can advise regarding your rights and what to do if your insurance company tries to raise your rates or deny coverage for an accident involving an uninsured driver.
Do You Need Help Pursuing an Uninsured Motorist Payout?
If you had an accident with an uninsured motorist, your insurance policy may compensate you for your losses. Retain a lawyer to represent you in your claim, even if dealing with your own insurance company. Any insurance company may push back against the full compensation you need or deserve, and a car accident lawyer can help even the playing field.