If you are involved in a car accident and it turns out the other driver is not insured, you may be dealing with a messy situation. Being injured in the accident and the other driver being at fault only complicates matters. If you find yourself in this situation, you may have many questions about what you can do to recoup money for your expenses and whether or not you can file a personal injury claim. Here are a few of the questions you may have and the answers to those questions.
How Can You Recover Money Following a Car Accident From an Uninsured Driver?
When you take out an auto insurance policy, one of the options you have is to buy uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage. If a driver either does not have insurance, or does not have enough to cover damage to your vehicle and your medical expenses, your policy will kick in and pay for these expenses, up to the policy limits you select. Your insurance company will then try to go after the other driver on your behalf and recover money, so you don't have to worry about it.
If you do not have this coverage, you are tasked with going after the driver yourself. If you are simply seeking reimbursement for damages to your car, you will have to file a civil lawsuit against the other driver. However, if you were injured and are seeking reimbursement for your medical expenses, lost wages due to your inability to work and money for your pain and suffering, you will have to file a personal injury claim. It is important to note that you can file both types of claims concurrently.
Is it Hard to Sue Someone Who Isn't Insured?
It is no harder to file a lawsuit against an uninsured driver compared to bringing a suit against an insured driver. However, the challenging part can be recovering your money, should you win your case. When you file suit against an insured driver, their insurance will pay you out the money. But an uninsured driver is responsible for the award out of their own pocket. If they are driving around without insurance, there is a good possibility they simply don't have much money as it is, which is why they aren't paying to be covered. If the other driver doesn't have a lot of money, trying to get them to pay what they owe can be challenging.
How Is Money Recovered From an Uninsured Driver?
If you win a lawsuit, you can file a lien against any property the other driver owns. This includes their car and their house. However, it is important to note that most states do allow an exemption for housing and vehicles within a certain amount and if an uninsured motorists house or car falls under these values, you can't collect any money when they sell these items. You may also be able to seize any assets the other driver has, depending on the laws in the state you reside in. This includes bank accounts and valuable property. Lastly, in most states, you are able to garnish a certain percentage of the uninsured driver's paycheck to help pay any judgement you are granted against the other party. Filing the paperwork to recover the money can be time consuming, which is where an accident attorney can be invaluable.
Filing a personal injury claim is always challenging. The burden of proof falls on you to show the other driver was at fault for the accident and you sustained injuries as a result. However, if the driver is uninsured, you have an additional burden of trying to recover money from the other party. An accident attorney can help you win your case, as well as help you recover the judgement that you are awarded when your case goes to trial.