Any type of car accident is frustrating, but car accidents involving uninsured motorists are even more exasperating. There is no guarantee that the other person will pay for damages, especially considering that they are not even willing to pay for the minimum state-mandated liability insurance. If your accident is severe enough that you require extensive medical attention or lose time from work, those expenses will almost certainly go unreimbursed. That is, unless you speak with a personal injury lawyer about filing a lawsuit against the uninsured driver (and it is determined that you have a viable case).
How is it possible for motorists to drive without insurance?
In Mississippi, as well as most other states, drivers are required to carry a certain level of liability insurance in order to register their vehicle. They may pay for any amount of coverage that is permitted by the provider (usually in increments of 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months). Many times, if these vehicle owners have a tight budget, they will pay for the minimum duration. So, the policy may expire after 3 months, for example, while registration lasts for one year. A lot can happen in that 9 month time difference.
What should I do if I've been hit by an uninsured motorist?
At the scene of the accident, you shouldn't treat this any differently than you would any other type of collision. Collect as much information as possible. Write down the other driver's information exactly as it is listed on his or her license, and ask a third party to check your notes for accuracy. Write down the vehicle's tag number, make, model, and any distinguishing characteristics. Request a police report. Take photos of both vehicles from every angle.
It's when you leave the scene that things will be handled differently. Rather than speaking with an insurance provider, you should speak with your attorney. Don't wait to see if the other driver will pay for damages. At the very least, request that a demand letter be sent to the uninsured motorist's home as quickly as possible. While your attorney is handling that, collect quotes from your mechanic and/or body shop for the anticipated repairs. If you have received medical attention, save all of the documents that have been provided by your doctor or hospital, especially billing statements. You'll need those if you expect to be reimbursed.
Statistics You Need to Know
The possibility of being hit by an uninsured motorist is not that far-fetched. According to the Insurance Information Institute, approximately 12.6% of all drivers in the United States are driving without insurance. That figure doesn't seem like much, until you narrow it down to our state, specifically. In Mississippi, 23% of drivers are uninsured. That's almost a quarter of our drivers! In fact, we have the third highest percentage in the nation, only falling behind Florida (23.8%) and Oklahoma (25.9%). With that in mind, it pays to be prepared for anything when you get behind the wheel.
If you have been hit by an uninsured motorist, DO NOT WAIT. You need to begin working toward a settlement as soon as possible. Contact the skilled and proven team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC today at (601) 948-1600 for a free initial consultation.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.