What to Do if You are Involved in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
February 10th, 2023
No matter how carefully you operate your vehicle, accidents can arise unexpectedly due to another driver’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. While car insurance may cover medical bills and other expenses incurred in connection with any injuries sustained in a crash, almost a quarter of drivers in Washington State are uninsured. If you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver, it can be challenging to recover the compensation you are rightfully entitled.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver
Being the victim of a car crash can be a terrifying experience. It can be even more overwhelming if you are concerned about how your medical bills will be paid after an uninsured driver causes an accident. Although an at-fault driver’s insurance company should cover these expenses, a victim may have fewer options for recovery if the responsible party does not have adequate insurance — or any insurance at all. But there are still several avenues you may be able to pursue to obtain monetary recovery.
Before you can obtain compensation for your accident-related injuries, there are a few steps you should take after a car accident, including the following:
- Call 911 for emergency assistance — Whether you think you have been hurt or not, it is best to seek medical attention immediately after an accident. Medical documentation is crucial for any personal injury claim you might file later.
- Contact the police — Do not leave the scene of the accident without calling the police, even if you do not think you have been seriously injured. The police will take a report and document the accident.
- Obtain as much information as possible — Try to obtain as much information as you can after the accident. Document the license plate number and type of vehicle the other party was driving. If possible, obtain the names and contact information for the other driver and any witnesses. Take photos or video with your cell phone of any property damage or injuries.
- Notify your insurer — Even if you were not to blame for the crash, most insurance policies require that you notify them if an accident has occurred. However, you should not agree to give a recorded statement or accept responsibility for the crash.
- Document your injuries, property damage, and expenses — In the days and weeks after an accident, document the injuries you sustained, the medical care you received, and any costs related to the crash. Keep receipts for medical care, hospital bills, car repair costs, and any other expenses in connection with the collision.
Look to Your Own Insurance Policy for Coverage
After a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should look to your own insurance policy to see whether you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you do, you can file a claim with your own insurance company to cover property damage costs, medical bills, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. Although uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is not required in Washington, it can be crucial to help ensure your damages are paid if a driver who does not have liability insurance is responsible for the crash.
Consider Filing a Lawsuit After an Uninsured Driver Accident
Property damage and medical expenses can quickly add up after an accident. If no insurance coverage is applicable, an experienced personal injury attorney can thoroughly investigate your case and determine whether you have any other avenues of possible recovery.
In the event multiple vehicles were involved in an accident, there may be more than one party who should be held liable. If the uninsured driver is only partly responsible for the accident, you can pursue compensation from any other negligent drivers who share blame for the collision. Under Washington’s joint and several liability law, an accident victim can collect the entire judgment from just one negligent party — regardless of whether several drivers were at fault. In some cases, a municipality may even be held accountable for a crash if it was caused by a known hazard in the roadway that was not timely repaired.
Contact a Knowledgeable Washington Personal Injury Attorney
If you were in a car accident with an uninsured driver, it is important to have experienced legal counsel by your side who can fight to secure the compensation you deserve. The Bellingham personal injury attorneys at Robinson & Kole provide aggressive advocacy to car accident victims throughout Washington State and work diligently to obtain a favorable outcome in each case. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 800.640.5616 or by using our online contact form. Se habla Español.