Getting into a car accident is stressful, even without dealing with the other driver being uninsured. Attempting to exchange details with a driver who tells you they’re uninsured can add anxiety to any injuries you’ve suffered and the damage to your vehicle.
If you think this is an unlikely scenario, consider that despite almost all states requiring drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of coverage, 12.6% of drivers were uninsured as recently as 2019 in the United States. That means you have a more than one-in-ten chance of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver.
Louisiana law requires motorists to carry minimum liability coverage on their cars. All drivers must have at least $15,000 coverage for bodily injury per person, $30,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. Failing to adhere to this requirement can result in steep penalties or vehicle impoundment.
When hit by an uninsured driver, the procedure you follow is the same as in any other car accident. Skipping any of these steps can negatively influence your claim.
An uninsured driver may try to convince you not to file a police report. They probably understand that they will have strict penalties to face and try to persuade you to avoid contacting the police. However, you need to be firm in your resolve to file a police report.
Filing a claim without a police report will make it more challenging to get your expenses covered. Furthermore, if the driver doesn’t have insurance, it’s unlikely they possess the financial means to compensate you privately. Contacting the police ensures you have an official record of the accident.
If the other driver is uninsured, they may try to flee the accident scene. Even if they remain at the location of the crash, they might not be forthcoming with their information.
Try to get their name, phone number, and license plate. Record any information about the vehicle, such as make, model, and color. This information can help identify the driver even if they attempt to flee.
Damage to your car will be apparent and give you a good idea of the repairs your vehicle will need. On the other hand, injuries may not be immediately evident and can affect you long after your accident, especially soft tissue injuries (like whiplash) and brain injuries (like concussion).
Avoid declaring you are injury-free until a doctor confirms you are in good health. If you are injured, you will need medical records to help prove your claim.
Your best chance of receiving compensation is by relying on your uninsured motorist coverage. While this insurance is not legally required in Louisiana, it is important to have, and will often be included in your policy unless you specifically decline it. Having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in addition to your usual liability auto insurance ensures your medical bills and damages are covered if an uninsured driver hits you.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for medical bills, lost wages due to the accident, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering compensation. Underinsured motorist coverage pays for your medical bills and other costs if the at-fault driver doesn’t carry liability car insurance or does not have enough liability insurance to pay your medical and rehabilitation bills (for example, if they only carry the minimum amount, but your medical bills exceed their coverage limits).
It’s strongly recommended to carry both uninsured and underinsured coverage to avoid paying out-of-pocket for your damages and injuries if someone without insurance hits you.
While there is no set-in-stone rule to follow, it is a good idea to match the liability coverage you have. For example, if you purchase $100,000 in liability coverage, another $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage might be a good idea if you can afford it.
If the uninsured driver does not have enough liability to cover your medical and rehabilitation costs, you may need to go after their personal assets. These may include their home, vehicles, or financial accounts.
However, a person who cannot afford insurance may not have the assets to cover your compensation. Consulting with an experienced accident lawyer helps you choose the right course of action to follow.
Contact the experienced Shreveport car crash attorneys at Dudley DeBoisier Injury Lawyers if an uninsured driver has hit you or a loved one. Take advantage of our free consultation and find out how to get the compensation you deserve. You can find our law offices in Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Houma, Lafayette, New Orleans, and Shreveport.
This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.
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