What to do if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver – by Attorney Jody Broaddus.
Some drivers don’t comply with Arizona law that requires drivers to maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. This may place you at risk if an uninsured driver causes an accident that results in injuries or damages to you or your passengers. Here are some tips to protect yourself.
What to do if You’re in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
- Insure yourself. You can’t rely on others to make sure that you will be taken care of after an accident. Make sure you have uninsured (“UM”) and underinsured “UIM”) motorist coverage and collision coverage through your own insurance carrier. UM and UIM coverage may provide coverage if an uninsured doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to compensate you or your passengers for injuries sustained in an accident. Collision coverage can help pay for repairs to or replacement of your vehicle if you are struck by an uninsured driver. If you owe money on your vehicle, you may also want to consider gap coverage, as the value of your vehicle may be less than the amount owed to the finance company.
- Call the police. Law enforcement can make a report to document information about the accident and the persons involved. This may help in processing any claim you may have, especially if the uninsured driver later tries to deny liability or avoid responsibility.
- Exchange information. If a driver does not have insurance, you want to ensure that you have the other driver’s name, address, and phone number, as well as the make and model of the driver’s vehicle and the license plate number. You should also notate the date, time, and location of the accident. This may avoid a situation where the driver later claims he or she was not involved in the accident. You should also get contact information from any witnesses, as they may be helpful if liability is contested.
- Do not accept money or a future promise to pay money. Following an accident, injuries and damages may not immediately be known, as some injuries can manifest over time following an accident. You do not want to limit yourself to a quick payment or settlement that could be deficient or insufficient to compensate you for your losses.
- Take pictures. You should consider taking pictures of your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle to memorialize any damage and the position of the vehicles following the accident. You should also take a picture of the other driver’s license plate. This will help establish property damages and may also assist an expert in reconstructing the accident.
- Call an attorney. An attorney can discuss options that are available to you and ensure your rights are protected.