Have you been involved in a car accident, only to find out that the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or lacks sufficient coverage? While most states require drivers to hold a minimum amount of liability coverage, unfortunately, many drivers remain uninsured or underinsured. In fact, research shows that almost 11 percent of drivers in New Jersey are uninsured.

Like most drivers, you may depend on auto insurance to cover the cost of medical expenses and property damage in the event of a collision. Being involved in a car accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured can leave you unsure of where to turn to for compensation.

This article will provide you with suggestions of steps to take after being involved in a car accident with someone without insurance. We will also discuss how a car accident lawyer can help you explore your options for compensation and understand your legal options.

The Benefits of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage

An uninsured motorist is a driver who does not have any car insurance at all. An underinsured motorist is someone whose policy limits are insufficient to fully cover your damages.

If you have been harmed due to the actions of a driver who does not have insurance or is underinsured, this does not necessarily mean that you are out of luck and have to cover your expenses out-of-pocket. You have some possible avenues to recover compensation.

Depending on the type of car insurance policy you have, one of your compensation options may be filing a claim with your own insurance provider.

Each state sets its own minimum insurance requirements. New Jersey has two minimum car insurance options,=: a basic and a standard policy. Drivers who hold the basic policy will not have any protection from an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

Drivers in NJ who have a standard insurance plan will have at least the minimum coverage of uninsured motorist bodily injury and underinsured motorist bodily injury ($25,00 per person; $50,000 per accident).

Why Hire a Car Accident Lawyer When Filing a Uninsured Motorist Claim?

As with any other type of car accident, you can only receive the benefits of an uninsured motorist claim when you can prove the other party was at fault. Since your insurer will essentially be standing in for the other driver, the insurance company will not pay your claim until your car accident claim is investigated to ensure the uninsured driver is liable.

Keep in mind that insurance companies are always looking out for their best interest – not yours. They will look for any reason to deny or limit your car accident claim.

Uninsured motorist claims are not always straightforward. For this reason, it is recommended that you hire a car accident lawyer to represent you. A lawyer can help you file your claim and negotiate with the insurer.

The reality is that car insurance companies are more likely to offer a fair settlement when they know you have a car accident attorney on your side who is prepared to fight for your benefits.

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help If the At-Fault Driver Is Underinsured

If the at-fault driver has auto insurance but does not carry enough coverage to meet the state’s minimum requirements, your uninsured motorist coverage can be used to make up the difference of what you are owed. However, your insurer will only allow you to obtain the benefits of your UIM benefits if your coverage limits are higher than the coverage limits of the at-fault driver.

Car accident lawyers can help with your underinsured motorist claim by:

  • Collecting evidence to prove the other driver was to blame for the accident
  • Proving that your share of negligence did not exceed the other driver’s
  • Communicating and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf
  • Protect your right to compensation through your UIM policy

There May Be More Than One Liable Party

Several parties may have contributed to your motor vehicle accident. Multiple parties could be liable for your property damage, medical bills, and other expenses if this is the case.

Besides the uninsured motorist, additional liable parties could include:

  • Other motorists driving negligently
  • Government entities responsible for road maintenance
  • Manufacturers who produced defective auto parts

A car accident lawyer will work hard to uncover all possible causes of your accident. Your lawyer will use that information to identify all liable parties and file a claim against them, maximizing your chances of securing full compensation for your losses.

Filing a Lawsuit Against a Uninsured or Underinsured Driver

If your damages exceed the amounts of your UM/UIM policy, or if your insurer denies your claim, you may consider the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you are naming the at-fault driver as the defendant and asking the court to order that person to pay for your car accident damages.

However, this may not always be a successful tactic. When drivers do not follow the legal requirement to purchase car insurance, for instance, it could be because they cannot afford it. If they do not have the money for car insurance, it is unlikely they will be able to pay your damages even if you win the lawsuit.

Before helping you file a lawsuit, a car accident lawyer can evaluate why the at-fault driver did not have insurance and whether he or she has the ability to pay for damages awarded in a lawsuit.

Steps to Take Immediately After Being Hit by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver

The actions you take immediately following a collision can affect the outcome of your car accident claim. Indeed, there are some things you can do to begin building a case against an at-fault party – regardless of their insurance coverage.

Take these steps:

  • Get medical attention: Seeking medical attention immediately after a car accident ensures that there are no complications and that your injuries can be fully treated. Visiting a doctor will also create a record of your injury, connecting it to the car accident.
  • Report the accident: Call 911 and report the accident. A police officer will arrive at the accident scene, speak to all parties involved, and complete an official report. If the other driver is uninsured, he or she will likely be issued a citation.
  • Document the scene: Take photos or videos to document the accident scene. Speak to any witnesses of the incident and obtain their contact information. Jot down any memories or details you have of the accident unfolding before you forget them.
  • Contact a car accident lawyer: Getting the money you need after a car accident is especially difficult if the other driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage. Hiring a car accident attorney to handle your case will increase your likelihood of recovering fair compensation.

Our Car Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help

Being injured in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver can be frustrating and stressful. Nevertheless, knowing your legal rights and compensation options can help you navigate the situation.

Just because a driver is uninsured does not mean you cannot get money for your losses after a car accident. During your free consultation, a Judd Shaw Injury Law attorney can review the details of your situation and develop a plan of action that will work for you.

Our car accident attorneys have years of experience fighting for auto accident victims. Let us help you get compensation for your car accident injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free case review. With our No Fee Guarantee, you don’t owe us anything unless you get money for your claim.