Over 2 million people are injured in car accidents in the United States every year. With the average person involved in a collision every 16 years, it’s a question of when, not if.
Normally when there’s an accident, both drivers swap information and contact their insurance companies to begin sorting things out. But although car insurance is required by law, 13% of drivers still get behind the wheel without proper coverage. Here’s what to do if you find yourself in the all-too-common scenario of being hit by an uninsured driver.
As with any car accident, call 911 so police and emergency responders arrive at the scene. Provide your information to the authorities so you can obtain a police report later. If anyone is injured, make sure they receive medical care.
Once you address your immediate health and safety, exchange information with the other driver. You obviously won’t be able to collect insurance information, but you can write down their driver’s license number, license plate, and vehicle make and model.
If the other driver flees the scene, see if any witnesses were able to photograph their license plate or get a good look at the driver. Regardless of insurance status, a hit-and-run accident is usually treated the same as being hit by an uninsured driver.
Take photos of the vehicle damage, any visible injuries, and your surroundings. Anything that can demonstrate the traffic situation, time of day, weather conditions, and precisely where the accident occurred could prove useful.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Inform your agent that you were hit by an uninsured driver and intend to file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. Hopefully, you have not opted out of UM or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. If you have, you’ll have fewer options for recovering damages.
If you don’t have UM/UIM coverage, another option is to file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver. This is often considered a last resort because if the driver can’t afford insurance, they probably won’t be able to pay the out-of-pocket costs resulting from the accident.
Whether you decide to file an insurance claim or open a lawsuit against the other driver, it pays to work with an auto accident lawyer in New Jersey. This legal professional can help you fight for the compensation you deserve by exploring all your options. This may include negotiating with your insurance company, accepting monthly payments from the at-fault driver, or filing a lien on the uninsured motorist’s car.
At Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC, we are dedicated to seeking justice for our clients. With over 70 years of experience, we have what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 862-263-0770 or contact us online to schedule a free, one-hour consultation. A Spanish translator is available upon request.