Car accidents are inevitable. They’ll happen when you least expect them to, and they’ll usually happen at the worst time possible. If you are one of the unfortunate drivers who have been hit by an uninsured driver, you may find some comfort in knowing that you have car insurance coverage. This reassures you that if there are injuries or property damage, the insurance will help to pay the expenses.
The State of Nevada requires all registered vehicles to maintain insurance coverage. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the law. In some cases, the other driver either does not have enough car insurance or does not have any at all. This creates an abundance of uncertainty when that driver was the one who caused the accident and should be held financially responsible. Here is a brief explanation of what to do after being hit by an uninsured driver, brought to you by Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer, Brian M. Boyer:
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Being hit by an uninsured driver means you will have to use your own insurance company to cover the damages. Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance is additional coverage that you buy to protect you in this type of situation.
Under Nevada law, insurance companies are required to offer UM/UIM coverage. You must sign a waiver acknowledging that you reject the UM/UIM coverage. If your insurance company fails to do this, they must provide UM/UIM coverage for your loss.
UM/UIM coverage is also “stackable” meaning that if you have more than one auto policy at home and you didn’t get a bundle discount, UM/UIM policies can be combined for higher limits. Another way to stack policies is if you are an occupant in a car that you do not own, you can stack the UM/UIM policy with your own policy from the vehicle(s) that you do own.
Most insurance companies limit the amount of time that an uninsured and underinsured motorist claim can be filed. For some, the policyholder only has 30 days from the accident date. Therefore, it is in your best interest to begin the process as soon as possible once you find out the other driver is not covered.
If You’re Hit By An Uninsured Driver
The fact that the motorist does not have insurance does not mean you cannot take action against them. There are precautions that you should take to prepare for an insurance claim.
Contact The Police
Calling the police to the scene of the accident is always a good idea. Making sure there is a record of the crash is even more important when the other driver is uninsured. You will need this to have a smooth claims process and make sure your expenses are covered.
In addition, you may want to take pictures of the location where the accident happened, damage to your car, skid marks, and any other details at the scene that might be helpful. Even if the accident resulted in a hit and run, photographs can still help your case.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Make sure you get the other driver’s information. Although the police will get this as well, you should still cover your bases by getting their license ID, VIN#, and other information to document the scene. Be sure to also get contact information for any witnesses.
Contact Your Insurance Company
If you have uninsured motorist protection on your insurance policy, your insurance should be able to help you. The insurance company will determine the property damage in accordance with your policy coverage.
Get Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
If you were injured, chances are you’ll need medical care. In traditional cases, the other driver’s insurance company would take care of your damages. However, in this situation, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to see who is going to be responsible for covering your injuries.
You may still need to cover the deductible out of your own pocket… If you have bodily injury protection in addition to uninsured motorist coverage, your coverage should help you take care of damages that would typically be taken care of by the other driver’s insurance company.
Get Your Car Repaired
Your insurance company is also your source for getting your vehicle fixed. With your uninsured motorist property protection, repairs will likely be covered. If not, your standard protection may not cover all of the damages from being hit by an uninsured driver and you’ll need to seek financial recovery another way.
Recovering Damages: File A Lawsuit
In the event you need to seek damages outside of the insurance company, you may need to go to court to determine how much the other driver is responsible for paying. Damage awards are typically awarded by State law; however, the Department of Transportation or Department of Motor Vehicles may step in.
Contact our lawyers
If you have coverage for an uninsured or underinsured motorist, hiring an attorney might not be your first objective. You have met your obligations and paid your premiums… you believe that your insurance company will be fair, right? You were not at fault for the accident, so there should not be an issue.
Unfortunately, that is not how it works in certain cases. Your insurance company could in fact be reluctant to pay. If that is the case, you’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to defend you and represent you to help secure your damages.
If you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver or underinsured motorist accident, please contact attorney Brian M. Boyer immediately at (702) 800-0988 for a free case review!