What Can I Do if Hit by a Driver with No Insurance?

shutterstock_228064051An estimated one in every seven motorists in the United States has no auto insurance. If you are unfortunate enough to be hit by a driver with no insurance, the consequences can be financially crippling. Car crashes are traumatic enough, but a collision with an uninsured driver can turn into a living nightmare.

So what resources are available to protect yourself against financial ruin in the wake of such an accident? Your first thought may be to sue the at-fault driver, but even if you were to win a personal injury lawsuit, it is highly unlikely that the uninsured driver has enough assets to cover the damage award. Imagine being stuck with paying hospital bills and vehicle repairs out of your own pocket, just because of an uninsured motorist.

Whether you live in New York or New Jersey, the best way to protect yourself is by adding Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) to your own auto policy. While your premiums may be higher, this supplementary coverage can be a true life-saver down the line.

Hit by an uninsured vehicle in New York?

New York laws stipulate that all motorists must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance on their vehicles. However, an estimated 14 percent of vehicle owners continue to drive with no coverage whatsoever. By adding Uninsured Motorists Coverage, you can protect yourself, your family members and your vehicle passengers in the event of an accident caused by a negligent hit-and-run motorist, or uninsured driver.

Whether you’re involved in a minor fender bender or a catastrophic rollover, you can rest assured that your own UM policy (maximum of $500,000 per accident) will cover the damages caused by a hit and run driver or a motorist without insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Claims in New Jersey

In New Jersey, all private passenger automobiles are legally obligated to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as part of the standard policy. The minimum coverage amounts for uninsured motorists are: $15,000 for bodily injuries suffered by one person, $30,000 for harm sustained by all those injured in the accident, and $5,000 for property damage resulting from the accident. These figures represent the bare minimum of UM coverage, which would barely cover the cost of medical expenses in a major accident.

As a general rule, you should always purchase as much UM coverage as you can afford, though NJ laws will not allow you to buy UM coverage that exceeds your own liability coverage limits.  When filing an uninsured motorist claim in New Jersey, it’s important to remember that your insurance company will only pay if the other driver was clearly at fault for the accident. If you were more than 50 percent liable for the crash, comparative negligence laws will limit your recovery.

Legal guidance from KGG car accident attorneys

It is highly recommended that you seek experienced legal representation after any sort of car accident with an uninsured driver (or a hit and run). Insurance companies, even your own, may try and deny your claim or settle for less than you deserve. Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman car accident lawyers are well-versed in handling UM claims in New York and New Jersey, and are here to protect your best interests. To schedule a complimentary case review in Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, New Jersey, please call our toll free number 1-888- 608-9232.

Additional Uninsured Driver Accident Resources:

  1. Money, What happens if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver? http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/auto-insurance/accident-with-uninsured-driver.htm
  2. NewYorkState, Auto Insurance FAQ http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/faqs/faqs_auto.htm
  3. New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance Filing an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage Claim http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/ins_ombudsman/wysk3.htm