Car accidents are disruptive. They can jolt you out of your routine, strain your wallet and even cause minor to serious injuries. However, if you have the misfortune of being involved in a car accident, at least you can find comfort in knowing that the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover any necessary medical treatment and repairs for your vehicle.
So what happens when you’re hit by a driver that doesn’t have car insurance? This can make a bad situation seem worse. Luckily, there are options. A car accident lawyer can guide you along the best course of action so you can move on with your life.
Underinsured and Uninsured Coverage
Insurance companies will help prepare you for situations like this by offering uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If the other driver is at-fault, then you have the option to make a claim against your own auto insurance company up to the uninsured driver coverage limit.
Uninsured driver coverage is add-on coverage that is required in the state of Maine. It helps protect you in situations where the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or their insurance limits are too low to cover your medical expenses and vehicle damages. Although driver’s insurance is mandatory nationwide, there are many people on the road who aren’t covered. Maine’s requirement for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is extremely useful to get you back to normal.
The Uninsured and Underinsured Driver Claim Process
Upon discovering that the driver who hit you doesn’t have auto insurance, you should notify your insurer as soon as possible. Let them know you plan on filing an uninsured driver claim. Because of some insurance policy’s claim notification deadlines, you should not delay.
If the other driver is underinsured, you might not even realize it until you progress through your medical treatment and your car accident lawyer determines the estimated value of your case. If the value exceeds the at-fault driver’s liability coverage, let your insurer know that you plan on filing a claim right away.
These claims typically work in the same way as a normal car accident claim, except for the fact that it’s against your own car insurance company. As usual, there will be a pretrial investigation, a report of your medical expenses and records and statements from witnesses. However, if you and your insurance company cannot decide on a settlement amount together, you will not be able to file a lawsuit against them.
In this scenario, you will have to go through arbitration, which isn’t as formal as a court trial. The arbitrator(s) will hear the details of your case and then decide who wins. This option isn’t always ideal, though, as the decision isn’t usually able to be appealed.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’re unsure of what to do if you’ve been involved in a crash where the at-fault driver isn’t insured, one of the best steps you can take is hiring a car accident lawyer. A qualified lawyer can advise you on the best course of action following your collision.
Filing a lawsuit against the other driver isn’t always a valid option. If they aren’t insured, it’s likely that they don’t have the assets or funds to handle a lawsuit. So working with your insurance company is often the best decision.
The lawyers at Lowry & Associates are happy to take a look at your case following your accident. We will help you deal with your car insurance company and back to your routine in no time. Give us a call at 207-775-3819 or fill out our free case review form.