Unsuspecting drivers are caught in car accidents every day. You’re driving along minding your own business when another vehicle hits you out of nowhere. They’re not paying attention to the road because they’re on the phone, in an argument, or talking to their kids, or maybe they aren’t following the rules of the road. Whatever it is, the accident is their fault. The police will come to the scene of the accident and file a report. This report will state who is at-fault, and that’s the driver responsible for the damages and injuries during the accident provided it occurred in a state without a no-fault insurance rule.
Once the accident occurs, the police arrive, statements are taken, and insurance information is exchanged. When you get home, you call the insurance company the other driver provided as their own only to find out they don’t have a policy with that company anymore because it either lapsed or was cancelled due to nonpayment. It’s an upsetting realization, and it leaves you wondering what you can do in the meantime. Someone else has to pay for the damage because they caused it, right?
Not necessarily. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, it’s up to you to pay for the damage they caused. You’ll call your insurance company to file the claim, and they’ll pay for your medical bills and any damage to your car that requires repair provided you have uninsured motorist coverage. The insurance company then fights the other driver to receive compensation for the accident. Most of the time the other driver cannot afford to pay for the damages. They probably can’t even afford their insurance, which is why they let it lapse or expire.
So long as you do not reside in a no-fault state, there is an option that allows you to file a lawsuit. This lawsuit is going to take the other driver to court. There’s a small problem with this, and it’s that the other driver probably can’t afford to pay you regardless. In most states, you can only sue the driver of the other vehicle if you sustained serious damages. This means filing a lawsuit to have your car repaired to the tune of $3,000 isn’t going to suffice unless you have ample medical bills and horrible injuries.
Unfortunately, even a successful lawsuit against an at-fault driver means nothing for you. If you win the case and a judgement is placed against the at-fault driver, there’s no guarantee you will ever receive any money from that person. The court could place a lien on their home so if they ever sell, they are required to pay you prior to pocketing any profit. If they don’t own a home, this isn’t a possibility. There are so many restrictions in place for those who cannot afford to pay, you might never see anything.
The best thing anyone can do to protect themselves in the instance an accident is caused by a driver without insurance is carry uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage. If you aren’t sure this is enough and want to know what your legal options are, you can call an attorney to find out what rights you have in an accident of this nature. Calling an attorney following your accident provides you with the opportunity to seek damages faster, and it allows us to present the options to you from the start. There’s not a lot you can do when the other driver hasn’t an insurance policy, but you do have rights you can enact if this should happen to you during an accident.