What happens if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance?

The only thing worse than being injured in a crash that wasn’t your fault? Realizing the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance to cover your expenses. Don’t panic in this situation – you have options under Louisiana law. Contact Lafayette Car Accident Lawyer at (337) 541-0769 for unwavering support on your journey to compensation.

Option 1: File a UM or UIM claim with your insurer

When you find out that the at-fault driver is uninsured, the first thing to check is your insurance policy. You may have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage designed to address scenarios where the at-fault driver lacks insurance. In Louisiana, insurers are required to offer UM coverage, but the policyholder can decline it in writing.

Filing a UM claim with your insurer

If you have UM coverage, you can file a claim directly with your insurance company. This coverage typically includes compensation for medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, and even potentially for pain and suffering, similar to what the at-fault driver’s insurance would have covered. It’s crucial to file this claim promptly after confirming the other driver’s lack of insurance.

Filing a UIM claim

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage is crucial for cases where the at-fault driver’s insurance does not fully cover the damages they have caused. In Louisiana, UIM coverage supplements the shortfall when the other driver’s policy limits are exhausted but does not fully compensate for your losses. This coverage works alongside UM coverage and is particularly valuable in severe accidents where medical expenses, property damage, and other losses exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits.

Things to consider about UM and UIM claims

Reduction of UM coverage

Louisiana policyholders can reduce their uninsured motorist coverage to limits lower than their liability coverage or reject it altogether. However, such a decision must be made in writing. Reducing or rejecting UM/UIM coverage can lower premiums and limit financial protection in accidents with uninsured or inadequately insured drivers.

Subrogation rights

After paying out a claim under UM or UIM coverage, an insurance company may exercise its subrogation rights to recover the amount paid from the at-fault driver. This means the insurer can step into the insured’s shoes to seek reimbursement from the responsible party, potentially involving legal actions. Understanding these rights can help policyholders comprehend the insurer’s motivations and actions in the claims process.

What if I was hurt in a hit-and-run and they still haven’t found the driver?

Louisiana’s UM coverage also addresses hit-and-run incidents, where the at-fault driver flees the scene and remains unidentified. To claim UM benefits in such situations, policyholders must generally provide evidence of the hit-and-run through an independent witness. This provision ensures that victims of hit-and-run accidents are not left without recourse for compensation for their injuries and damages.

Option 2: Pursue legal action

When the at-fault driver in an accident lacks insurance, pursuing legal action may seem necessary to recover damages. In Louisiana, this process involves several considerations that can impact the viability and success of such actions. Understanding the specifics of pursuing legal action against uninsured drivers is crucial for properly managing your expectations and strategy.

Assessing the possibility of legal action

Before initiating legal proceedings against an uninsured driver, assessing the likelihood of recovering any damages awarded by the court is important. Many uninsured drivers lack insurance because they cannot afford it, which often means they may not have significant assets or steady income. This makes it crucial to conduct a preliminary assessment of the at-fault driver’s financial status to determine if pursuing a lawsuit would be practical and economically viable.

Collecting judgments

Even if a judgment is awarded in your favor, collecting that judgment from an uninsured, financially unstable driver can be challenging. Mechanisms like garnishing wages or seizing assets can be pursued, but these are not always successful if the defendant has limited financial resources.

We’ll provide effective representation in your case

Dealing with an uninsured at-fault driver in Lafayette involves understanding your insurance coverage, potentially filing a claim under your UM policy, and possibly pursuing legal action if necessary. It’s advisable to consult a lawyer specializing in car accidents and personal injury to navigate these complexities effectively. By being informed and prepared, you can better manage the challenges of recovering from a crash with an uninsured driver.

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Lafayette Car Accident Lawyer stands ready to assist you with your case. To find out more or request a free consultation, call us at (337) 541-0769.

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