Car accidents are one thing that every person who has a driver’s license hopes that they will never experience. But with an average of over 16,000 car accidents a day in the USA, they are quite common.
While a car accident might seem like a pretty straightforward concept, the legal aspect surrounding accidents is quite tricky.
This is mainly because there are so many different types of car accidents that you may find yourself in. There are single-car accidents, multi-car pile-ups, and car accidents that have been caused by things that are out of anybody’s control. Then there is the situation with insurance.
The entire situation with car insurance is quite foggy, and this is made even more tricky if the person who crashed into you does not have insurance. With that in mind, we’ve put together this little guide to everything that will happen if an uninsured driver hits your car.
Determining who is at fault
Perhaps the most important thing that happens following a car accident, is determining who is at fault.
Traditionally, once an accident has occurred, you and the other individual involved will exchange details so that you can both put in a claim to compensate for the damage that occurred to your car and the trauma that you have experienced from the crash.
This is, of course, assuming that the car accident that you are involved in is fairly minor, and the process will differ in more dangerous crashes.
Any car accident will have to be recorded by the police, and a criminal investigation report will be generated around the situation. As long as the car accident was not caused by dangerous/reckless driving or driving under the influence, this is usually where the police will take a step back from the investigation.
However, in their report, they will have made a verdict on who was at fault for the crash. This is usually the first verdict on who was responsible for the accident, but if there are no criminal charges to go along with the accident, the police’s verdict is often disregarded.
After the accident has occurred, both parties will have to notify their insurance. It is a requirement of most insurance policies that you notify your insurance company of any accident, no matter how minor.
After notifying your insurance company, you can then launch a claim if the accident resulted in damage to you or your vehicle.
Once a claim has been launched by either you or the other individual involved, the insurance company will launch its own investigation into the accident. Through interviews with witnesses, the crime scene report, and medical reports, the insurance companies will both determine who was at fault.
Then depending on which way the insurance company favors, you will either claim for damages off of your own insurance or off of the other individual’s insurance if they have been found at fault.
Laws in the different states
One thing that can make the process following a car accident tricky is that the laws surrounding ‘fault’ differ from State to State. The majority of States have ‘fault’ laws that allow you to claim off of the other person’s insurance if a car accident occurs.
These States also allow you to sue for extra compensation if you feel that your insurance payout is not enough. However, some States are known as ‘no-fault’ states, and in these areas, the process of claiming after a car accident differs hugely.
In ‘no-fault’ States, following a car accident you do not claim off of the other person’s insurance. Instead, in any car accident, you must claim off of your own insurance as there are no laws that allow you to claim off of the other person’s insurance.
This of course drives your insurance premium up and is extremely frustrating when the car accident is not your fault. However, in the case of an uninsured driver, your State having ‘no-fault’ laws might be beneficial for you.
What happens if an uninsured driver crashes into you?
So now that we’ve established what usually happens following a car accident, and how this process differs from State to State, let’s take a look at how this differs if the driver is uninsured.
First, let’s take a look at what happens in the traditional ‘fault’ States. In these areas, you claim off of the other person’s insurance, but if the person does not have insurance you will not be able to do this.
You will probably be able to tell if the person has insurance or not by the way that they act after a crash. If a driver is not insured they are more likely to hit and run or act shifty when giving you information after the accident. This will be further confirmed when you try to put a claim in with your insurance company.
Unfortunately, if the driver is not insured you will have to go through the police as they are the only people who will be able to trace the driver. You should notify the police as soon as possible, and always within 14 days of the accident if you want them to be able to trace the individual.
Once you have found the person, you can then file a civil suit against them for the damages that occurred in the accident.
This is why it is beneficial to live in a ‘no-fault’ State if a car accident occurs with an uninsured driver. In these States you claim off of your own insurance, so you don’t need to know who the driver in the over vehicle was to claim.
This means that you avoid the hassle of having to go to the police, and the whole situation can be resolved a whole lot quicker.
In short, if an uninsured driver crashes into your vehicle this can make the process of claiming a lot tricker. In traditional ‘fault’ States you will likely have to go through the Police to get a contact for the driver and you can then file a Civil suit against them for damages.
But if you live in a ‘no-fault’ State, the process is much easier as you simply claim off of your own insurance.
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