Getting into a car accident can be traumatic regardless of the circumstances, but when you get hit by an uninsured driver, a whole new layer of stress is added to the situation. Who will pay for your medical bills? Are you totally out of luck, or is there still a way to get money if you get hit by an uninsured driver?
Here’s what you need to know about getting hit by an uninsured driver. For a free consultation, contact Wade & Nysather AZ Accident Attorneys today. We may be able to get you compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more.
How Many Drivers Are Uninsured in Arizona?
About 1 in 8 drivers (12.6% nationwide and 11.8% in Arizona) are uninsured – and those numbers are from 2019, the most recent year for which information is available. With the recent rise in inflation, many people may be forgoing car insurance so they can afford to pay other bills.
The average person has 3-4 accidents over the course of their lifetime, so with 1 in 8 drivers being uninsured, there’s about a 50% chance you will get hit by an uninsured driver at some point in your life.
How Can I Get Compensation if I Get Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, and the accident is their fault, there are two main ways you may be able to get compensation for your injuries.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage on Your Insurance Policy
Although Arizona doesn’t require it, all drivers should carry Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UM) – it’s specifically for instances like this of being hit by an uninsured driver. It’s also a good idea to have Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UIM), which is typically sold with UM coverage as a package. UIM pays for damages in excess of what the other driver’s insurance policy will cover.
File a Civil Lawsuit
If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the “at fault” uninsured driver to recover damages. However, one of the main reasons people don’t have car insurance is because they can’t afford it, so they may not have enough income or assets to cover the compensation claim.
What Should I Do If an Uninsured Driver Hits Me?
Whether or not the other driver has insurance, the steps about how you handle an accident are pretty similar, and the order in which you do these steps will vary depending on the severity of your injuries. If your injuries are severe, you should prioritize getting medical attention.
Get the Other Driver’s Contact Information
Normally, after an accident, you would exchange insurance information with the driver of the other vehicle. If they don’t have auto insurance, get their contact information, including a picture of their driver’s license instead.
Never accept a bribe from the other driver asking you not to call the police – that could land you in legal trouble. Also, accepting payment for repairs or injuries could limit your ability to collect later if the damages are found to be more than expected.
Call the Police and File an Accident Report
Move the cars from traffic, if it’s safe to do so, then call the police and wait for them to come to take an accident report. At the scene of the accident, the police will gather the information that helps to determine who is at fault for the crash, and the accident report is crucial for getting money down the road if the other driver is found to be at fault.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if your injuries seem minor, you should always get medical attention as soon as you can after an accident. Why?
For starters, your injuries may be worse than you realize. A headache could be a concussion or a brain bleed, a bruised abdomen could indicate internal bleeding, and so on.
Secondly, if you want to get compensation for your injuries, you need to be able to prove that:
- You sustained injuries
- The injuries resulted from the accident
Medical reports help you prove you were injured, giving you a better chance of getting money from the other driver or their insurance carrier.
Don’t Admit Fault
When you’re talking to the police, the other driver, your insurance company, or anybody else, don’t say anything that may imply you were the one at fault in the accident. Even if you think it was your fault, there may be extenuating circumstances. Since Arizona is a comparative fault state, the other driver may still be at least partially responsible for the crash and owe you money, so be very careful about what you say and to whom.
Contact an Arizona Car Accident Attorney
Even when the other driver is properly insured, getting the money you need to cover your medical bills and more can be extremely difficult. It’s even more so when the at-fault driver was uninsured. Contact an Arizona accident lawyer as soon as you can for the best chances of recovering damages after being hit by an uninsured driver.
Is Suing an Uninsured Driver for Damages Possible?
While it isn’t easy, it is possible to sue an uninsured driver for the injuries they caused by causing the crash. The biggest hurdle is that many people who don’t have car insurance also often don’t have much in savings or any other assets, making a lawsuit pointless.
You may also be able to file a claim against your own insurance company for more compensation. An experienced Arizona auto accident lawyer, like the ones at Wade & Nysather, may be able to find exceptions or loopholes in your auto insurance policy that allow you to recover more money.
Injured in an Uninsured Driver Accident? Contact an Experienced Arizona Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been hurt in an uninsured motorist accident in Arizona, we may still be able to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact the experienced Arizona car accident lawyers at Wade & Nysather today for a free consultation. If we take your case, you don’t pay us unless we get you money, so there’s no risk to contact us today.