How Do I Handle a Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
Car accidents are never easy, regardless of how minor the damage may be. The aftermath can be difficult to handle, with so many questions left unanswered. Things could get even more difficult if you get into an accident with someone who is uninsured.
Although carrying auto insurance is required to operate and register a vehicle, not every driver does. According to the Insurance Research Council in 2021, approximately 19 percent of drivers in Washington DC are uninsured, which is the ninth highest city in the country.
It is quite common to be involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. However, there are ways to protect yourself from such a complication. Some states, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are no-fault insurance states, meaning that regardless of who is at fault for an accident, the driver uses their own auto insurance to cover damages and medical costs. Therefore, it may not matter if your accident involved an uninsured driver, since your insurance company will coverage mostly all the costs. Only if either the injury or damage is serious enough to cost more than their coverage can a driver pursue a lawsuit against the other driver. However, if that driver is uninsured, it may be a fruitless battle.
In Washington DC, you are required to have uninsured motorist coverage in your auto policy. This way, should you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, your damages and injuries will be covered.
Here are the minimum requirements for a Washington DC driver for car insurance:
- Bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
- Property damage: $10,000 per accident.
- Uninsured motorist: $20,000 per person / $50,000 per accident; bodily injury.
- Underinsured motorist: $5,000 per accident; property damage.
- Limits: You typically cannot carry a higher amount of uninsured coverage compared to your total liability coverage.
- Underinsured coverage: This is similar to uninsured coverage but is not required.
Here are a few tips to follow should you get into an accident with an uninsured driver:
- Call the police: Regardless if the other driver has insurance or not, or how serious the damage is, it is always a good practice to contact the police when in a car accident. An official police report will help when you contact your own insurance, and if the other driver lacks insurance, the police report will make the whole situation easier for you.
- Exchange information: Even if the other driver does not have insurance, you want to make sure you get their vital information, such as name, address, contact information, and vehicle information.
- Gather evidence: Make sure to take photos or video of the scene and note the time of day. Get witness information and their accounts if possible.
- Do not settle: Since the other driver is uninsured, they may offer you money at the scene of the accident, or at least try to prevent you from calling the authorities. Accepting would be a mistake, as costs for an accident can rapidly increase, well above the amount of money they originally offered you.
- Contact your insurance: Contact your insurance company and let the agent know what happened and let them know that the other driver is not insured. At this point, you can find out if you have uninsured motorist coverage should you not remember.
You could have the highest coverage and still not get enough compensation to cover your expenses. Insurance companies are notorious for such practices, especially if the accident was serious enough to require months of treatment. Consider contacting a car accident lawyer after an accident with an uninsured driver to make sure you get the fairest settlement possible.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Injured by Uninsured Drivers
Any accident can be difficult to handle, and an accident with an uninsured driver can get complex very quickly. If you have been involved in an accident or injured by an uninsured driver, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced and knowledgeable team will gladly help you get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.