In Washington you can sue a negligent driver’s insurance company for damages, but what do you do when that driver doesn’t have insurance?

What happens if I am in an accident with an uninsured driver?

 

A:

Although it is illegal to drive without some sort of auto coverage in Washington, there are an estimated 2 million drivers on our roads who do not have the proper insurance to cover the damages they could cause in an accident. These drivers are either completely uninsured or woefully underinsured.

You may not see a reason to care about how others decide to insure themselves. However, since Washington is a “fault state,” a driver’s decision to forgo coverage doesn’t just put his finances at risk—it puts yours at risk as well. If you’re unlucky enough to get in a car accident with an uninsured or under-insured driver, you may wind up having to pay for the damages out of your own pocket and file a personal lawsuit against the liable driver. Fortunately, there are several methods through which you can pursue compensation and legal action to recover damages.

Recovering Damages

In a fault state, victims of car accidents have three options to pursue compensation: filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, and filing a claim with their own personal insurance. Unfortunately, when an uninsured driver causes your accident, your options are limited to filing with your insurance and personally suing him for damages. Despite which avenue you choose to pursue, your best chance for success lies with hiring a personal injury attorney.

In cases where the liable party doesn’t have adequate coverage, your own insurance policies must be evaluated to see if you can recover expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, ongoing care, and pain and suffering. Most auto insurance policies include underinsured motorist coverage which can supplement these costs. However, to use this coverage, you must be able to prove that the other driver was at fault for the collision and this is where an experienced attorney can help. A trustworthy lawyer can not only provide you with the options you need to pursue the right claims, but he can also help gather information and evidence to prove liability for a maximum settlement. 

If your attorney concludes that you must use your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, he can start this process while you decide on your other compensation options.

Additional Recovery Options

Once liability has been proven, you have two other avenues that you can pursue for compensation. These include:

  • Driver-related personal injury claim. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver who caused your injuries. Most people do have a certain amount of financial assets and bankruptcy does not erase debts from car accidents and DUIs. Therefore, even if the driver files for bankruptcy, you will still be entitled to your settlement.
  • Negligent third party or business personal injury claim. If the driver who hit you was drunk, you may have cause to sue the business or person who served the intoxicated driver alcohol and allowed him to drive. If it can be proven that the establishment continued to serve the person after they became visibly impaired, your odds of receiving compensation are high.

Preparing for the Worst

A car accident is never a pleasant thing to experience nor is it predictable. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare yourself for an accident’s consequences. Don’t gamble that a negligent driver will have the necessary insurance to cover your costs. Don’t allow someone else’s mistakes to affect your family’s future, and don’t get caught with nowhere to turn. Take a few moments to put our information into your phone’s contacts—Attorney Andrew Kim, 1.800.636.3676—to ensure that we’ll be there when you need us.