It’s a sad fact that even with laws in place throughout the U.S. requiring drivers to carry liability insurance at a minimum, there are those who climb behind the wheel without auto insurance of any kind. According to the Insurance Research Council, one in eight drivers doesn’t have auto insurance. While you may be following the rules of the road, there is a one-in-eight chance that someone who hits you isn’t.
So, what do you do if you’re struck by an uninsured driver? Here are the steps you should take:
- Call 9-1-1 if there are injuries and you are able. Whether it’s you or the other driver or passengers that are seriously injured, seconds count.
- Call the police. In any accident, whether the person who hit you has insurance or not, police can help get to the bottom of who’s at fault and more importantly create a report that you can use in a court of law or in negotiations with insurance companies.
- Never accept money on the scene. The driver without insurance probably realizes that they may be facing hefty fines and fees, and may try to make you an offer to settle without ‘getting lawyers or insurance companies’ involved. Don’t fall for this, even if it seems like a good deal. At that point, you have no idea what damages will amount to or whether you’ve suffered injuries you’ll be treating for a long time.
- Exchange information. Of course, they won’t have an insurance card to share, but they will have a driver’s license and a license plate. Also take some pictures with your smartphone of the accident scene, traffic signs, and the direction each vehicle was traveling.
- Provide all information to your insurance company. Unfortunately, in this situation, your own insurance company will have to cover your bodily injury and property damage costs.
Making this scenario even more complicated is that Florida is a no-fault state, so taking the uninsured driver who hit you to court may not be an option. Typically, in Florida, you can’t sue the other driver unless you’ve suffered serious injuries and/or incurred medical bills over a specific amount.
But here’s perhaps the biggest rub. Even if you are able to sue the uninsured driver for medical costs and damages, it might all be for naught. Chances are if someone can’t afford or doesn’t see the value of carrying auto insurance, they probably have little assets that can be levied as a remedy if charged in a court of law.
It’s not hopeless, however. If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, it’s important to seek the advice of proven, trial-tested personal injury attorneys like Martin Hernandez to see what your options are. You can reach them for advice 24/7 by calling 813.755.9500.