If you were involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you will likely have to turn to your own insurance ― even if the other driver was entirely at-fault. Below, we detail your options for recovering compensation if an uninsured driver caused your car accident. If you would like more information regarding your uninsured driver auto accident, please contact one of our Kirkland auto accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
What Options Do I Have If an Uninsured Driver Caused My Accident?
Several types of insurance can help you with your losses if an uninsured driver caused your wreck. Some of these include:
- Uninsured Motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy. Although the law does not require you to carry this coverage, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects people injured in accidents with uninsured drivers or drivers who flee the scene. It covers medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by the wreck.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP will pay for your medical treatment, lost wages, loss of services, and funeral costs, up to the amount of your policy. It does not pay to repair or replace your car. Washington does not require drivers to carry PIP coverage, but your insurance company must offer it to you, and your rejection of the coverage has to be in writing.
- Collision coverage on your auto policy. This coverage can pay to repair or replace your vehicle.
- Gap insurance on your auto insurance policy. Gap insurance covers the difference between the depreciated value of your car and the amount that remains on your auto loan if your vehicle is a total loss.
- Your health insurance through your employer, an individual policy, or another source. Although many health insurance policies expressly exclude coverage for motor vehicle accidents, some will provide coverage if the crash was not your fault. The language in your policy will control whether you are able to recover compensation. Your health insurance will only pay medical expenses, and not lost wages, property damage, or pain and suffering.
Another option for help with your damages is the Washington Crime Victims Program. If the at-fault driver was committing a crime (e.g., driving while intoxicated) when the crash occurred, you might be able to file a claim for benefits with this fund.
What Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Not Cover?
Your PIP coverage will not compensate you for your injuries if the accident happened when you were committing a felony. PIP also does not cover your injuries if the at-fault driver was using:
- A motorcycle or moped
- A recreational or off-road vehicle
Your medical treatment must take place within three years of the accident and must be reasonable, necessary, and related to the crash, or your insurance company can deny coverage.
Does Washington State Require Motorists to Have Auto Insurance?
Yes. Washington State requires auto insurance for all registered cars as follows:
- $25,000 bodily injury or death per person
- $50,000 bodily injury or death of two people in an accident
- $10,000 property damage of others per accident
You are, of course, allowed to have higher amounts of coverage. In fact, since the minimum coverage would be inadequate to pay the damages in most major crashes, getting higher policy limits is a smart financial decision.
Can I Sue the Driver?
Suing the uninsured driver is an option if he caused your accident. However, if the driver did not have insurance, he might not have many assets we can recover. Max Meyers can help you determine whether this is a viable option.
Call Max Meyers Law, PLLC Today
Being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver can leave you feeling hopeless. Remember you have options. The team at Max Meyers Law, PLLC wants to help in any way we can. Feel free to use our free Compensation Checklist after Being Hit by an Uninsured Driver to maximize your recovery.For advice, specific help understanding your policy, or help suing the other driver, call Max Meyers Law, PLLC. Call us today at 425-399-7000 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.