What do you do if you get into an accident with someone with no insurance?
Car accidents happen every single day in New York. If you have the misfortune of being involved in an auto accident, you at least have the peace of mind that your insurance will cover any injuries or damages as a result of the crash.
New York is one of a handful of states that employs a “no-fault” system of insurance coverage. This means that following an accident, your no-fault personal injury protection would be your initial source of compensation for any injuries to the driver or passengers.
In some instances, however, you may need to go beyond the confines of the no-fault system. This will happen if the damages exceed the limits of your coverage or are what has been defined as “serious” injuries, including broken bones, neck, back and joint injuries that limit the use of those body parts, loss of limb, or death, among others.
Normally, in these instances, you would be entitled to file a liability claim against the driver at-fault, but if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, or you were the victim of a hit-and-run, this may be difficult or even impossible.
So what do you do if you get into an accident with someone with no insurance?
If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver in New York, you may be able to file a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage.
New York insurance requirements mandate uninsured motorist coverage, which will essentially replace the at-fault driver’s liability coverage and provide you with additional compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Some drivers in New York only carry the absolute minimum liability coverage, and they may not have enough insurance to fully cover the damages caused in a serious accident. Your uninsured motorist coverage provides benefits only after the at-fault driver’s liability insurance (if they have it) is fully exhausted.
It is important to note that your uninsured motorist coverage only applies if the other driver was deemed to be at fault, and does not apply if you were at-fault in causing the car accident.
What to Do Following an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in New York, you should be sure to take the following steps at the scene of the accident:
– Check to see that the other driver and any passengers are okay, seek out immediate medical attention if needed.
– Call the police to report the accident.
– Exchange insurance and contact information with the driver of the other vehicle. It is at this point that you may become aware that the other driver does not have insurance. Refuse any attempts to “fix this” without involving the insurance companies, and refuse any offers of cash, since the true nature of vehicle damages or personal injury might not be fully evident until later.
– If you’ve been involved in a hit and run, it is important to write down any possible identifying information, including the make, model, color, direction of travel, etc., of the other vehicle. An investigation in the New York City metro area may turn over security camera footage that recorded the accident or the other party fleeing the scene.
– Talk to any potential witnesses at the scene and exchange contact information.
– Take photographs with your cell phone of the accident, including damage to vehicles and the surrounding area which may be able to provide context as to road conditions, speed, direction of travel, and ultimately who was at fault.
Remember, your uninsured motorist coverage only applies if the other driver was at-fault, so it is important to collect evidence that proves the other driver to be at-fault in a car accident.
Most insurance companies will honor an uninsured motorist claim, but some may try to offer compensation that is too low and does not fully reimburse you for lost wages, medical bills, or pain and suffering, or they may outright deny your claim. Some insurance companies may attempt to raise your insurance premiums or deny your coverage even though you weren’t at fault in the accident.
If this is the case with your insurance company, it is important that you contact a qualified New York auto accident attorney that can fully investigate your claim and document the extent of your injuries and losses. The experienced auto accident attorneys at Greenberg & Stein have more than 75 years of combined experience and are willing to go to bat for you in order to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Greenberg & Stein has a reputation for winning difficult cases, and we will fight for you no matter how big or small your case is. Regardless of when your accident occurs, our attorneys are available 24/7 to provide you with the legal advice you need, so don’t hesitate to call us following your auto accident in New York. Call us today at 888-411-3966 to schedule your free legal consultation.