In Virginia, drivers are required to carry minimum amounts of auto insurance. Unfortunately, not all drivers comply with the law. When drivers without car insurance cause accidents, they cannot cover the victim’s damages, including their medical expenses, property damage, and loss of income. If an uninsured driver caused a car accident that resulted in your injuries, you may be wondering what you should do to recover the damages you deserve. There are several different options you may be able to pursue, depending on the facts in your case.
Some Virginia Drivers Do Not Carry the Required Minimum Auto Insurance
All drivers in Virginia must carry fault-based auto insurance according to the state’s mandatory minimums. Additionally, drivers are required to carry proof of insurance when they drive. Drivers need to exchange insurance information when a car accident occurs. If you are involved in an auto accident, and you discover that the at-fault driver does not have insurance, it is important that you call the police immediately.
You can report the other driver and prevent them from fleeing the scene and returning to the road while uninsured. In hit-and-run accidents, a driver collides with another vehicle and then takes off. If this happens to you, try to write down all the information you remember about the driver in his or her vehicle. Doing so can help the police identify the driver.
Notify Your Insurance Company After the Accident
Even if the other driver does not have insurance, you should immediately notify your auto insurance company of the accident. In most cases, waiting longer than a month after the accident to notify your insurance company could give your insurance company a reason to deny uninsured or underinsured benefits. Informing your insurance company about the accident can increase your odds of a successful claim.
Discuss Your Legal Options With an Attorney
If an uninsured driver has injured you, you probably feel frustrated and worried about how you will pay your medical bills and expenses. Discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible is important. An attorney will help you understand your legal options, investigate your case, and gather evidence. Uninsured motorist cases can be complicated, and you will benefit from experienced legal representation As you move through the process of obtaining benefits. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that you could end up being on the hook for your vehicle damage, medical bills, and other expenses. Still, there are a few different options you can pursue in Virginia.
File an Uninsured Motorist Claim With Your Own Insurance Company
When the driver who caused your accident does not have insurance, you will probably need to file an uninsured motorist claim through your own insurance policy. In Virginia, all auto insurance policies must include uninsured motorist coverage. Additionally, the coverage must be at least the same as the minimum amount of the driver’s liability coverage. For example, if you have $500,000 of liability coverage, your insurance company must provide you with at least $500,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. If you have an insurance policy in Virginia, you will have uninsured motorist coverage unless you opt-out of the coverage in writing.
As soon as you find out that the other driver does not have insurance, you should notify your insurance of the accident and discuss your case with an attorney. Sometimes people assume that since their insurance company will be taking care of things, they will receive a fair settlement. This is not the case, however. Even though you have paid auto insurance premiums for an extended amount of time, your auto insurance provider may challenge your claim or offer you a settlement amount that is far too low.
Negotiating With Your Insurance Company
An attorney will be able to negotiate aggressively with the insurance company. An attorney can also review the details of your insurance policy to determine if you have purchased other types of coverage that can help you. You may have purchased medical payment, also called MedPay, coverage or collision coverage. If the at-fault party has auto insurance, but it does not cover all of your damages, you may be able to turn to your underinsured motorist coverage.
Explore Filing a Third-Party Liability Claim
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to pursue damages from another person or company through a third-party liability claim. For example, suppose the uninsured driver who caused your accident was working for their employer when the accident occurred. In this case, you may be able to pursue compensation from the driver’s employer. In other cases, a government agency or a motor vehicle manufacturer may be responsible for the accident and liable for your damages.
It is important that you work with an experienced attorney who will investigate your case thoroughly to discover whether there are one or more third parties you can hold accountable. Third-party liability claims are critical when the driver who caused the accident does not have insurance. The attorneys at the Straw Law Firm will use our resources and skills to identify all parties liable for your injuries to pursue the maximum compensation.
Seek Compensation From the Uninsured Driver’s Personal Assets
Another option is to seek compensation directly from the at-fault driver in a Virginia district court. Unfortunately, this option is rarely feasible because many drivers who do not have car insurance do not have personal assets. When a driver does not have the means to pay you, you will not be able to recover enough to compensate yourself for your losses. However, it is still worth researching this option as you move forward.
Did an Uninsured Driver Cause Your Car Accident? Get Legal Help Today
Being injured by an uninsured driver can be frustrating and stressful. You do not have to go through the process alone. At Straw Law Firm, one of our skilled attorneys, can help you investigate your case and develop the best legal strategy for obtaining the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options and how we can fight for you.