As most of us unfortunately know, a car accident can disrupt your life in financial, emotional, and physical ways. These issues can become even worse when the collision involves an uninsured or underinsured driver.
After you’re involved in a car accident, it’s important to remain calm and to try to take a few important steps to set yourself up for success. After you’ve made sure everyone is safe, you should call the police so that you have proper documentation of the crash. Next you should obtain any insurance information you can from the other driver. If they have no insurance at all, it’s especially important to call the police so that they can make a note of the fact on their reports. Next, you should try to take photos of the accident and to write down any information you can about the crash and about damage to your vehicle. If you’re injured, make sure to go to the doctor as soon as possible. This way, you not only have your injuries attended to, but you have proper documentation of your symptoms and injuries that are directly related to the crash.
Every driver in the State of Vermont is required to have car insurance. Although Vermont does quite well nationally when it comes to drivers who don’t have insurance, an alarming number of drivers across the country don’t have auto insurance. According to the most recent data available, 6.8% of drivers in Vermont do not have auto insurance. In New Hampshire the number jumps to 9.9% and nationally the number stands at 13% – or 1 in every 8 drivers.
When an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver happens, there are generally two paths to receiving compensation for your injuries and the damage to your car – to sue the uninsured driver or to file an uninsured driver claim against your own auto insurance company.
After the collision, it is time to think about how to move forward if you want to recover damages or compensation for medical or repair bills you have as a result of the crash. This process becomes much more complicated if an uninsured driver is at fault for the collision.
Suing an uninsured driver is typically a difficult process and is usually not the best option. Most uninsured drivers didn’t have enough money to pay for car insurance in the first place, let alone enough to pay for your medical bills or damage to your car. For that reason, the far smarter method to recover is to bring a claim against the driver but also to file an uninsured driver claim with your insurer.
The second step is to file an uninsured motorist claim under your own car insurance policy.
This is exactly why it is beneficial to carry uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage as part of your own auto insurance policy. In fact, it’s included in most auto policies in Vermont. Uninsured motorist insurance is there to cover your losses when the other driver has no insurance or is underinsured and can’t pay the amount you need for your medical bills or to replace your car; or to compensate you for your injuries.
If you plan to file an uninsured motorist claim, it is important to notify your insurance company quickly as many auto insurance companies have deadlines for notification and claims or else they won’t be covered.
When using your UM/UIM benefit, the claim process is typically the same as any other car accident claim in Vermont, except the claim is filed against your own insurance company. The biggest point of difficulty occurs if you and your insurer don’t agree on a settlement.
Hiring an attorney as soon as possible after a crash can be particularly beneficial in cases with uninsured drivers. An experienced car accident attorney will have the knowledge and skills to navigate negotiations with the insurance company and work toward getting you the settlement you need to pay your medical bills and fix your car. An attorney can help you find the best path forward for your unique situation.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can. Especially if either you or your passengers have sustained injuries during the accident. Kramer Law Office has decades of experienced in car crash cases and are here for you.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a car crash, please contact us today for a free case evaluation at 802-257-2221 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with us.