In an ideal world, vehicle accidents would never happen. And if they did, everyone involved would have enough insurance coverage for all the damages that are caused. In reality, this is not the case and many people are involved in crashes caused by the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
What should you do if this happens to you?
Your first steps after being hit by an uninsured motorist are the same as the steps you take after any type of accident. If you or anyone else has been injured, seek medical attention. This is important even if your injuries are not serious.
If you are not seriously injured and can remain at the scene of the accident, call the police and exchange information with the other drivers involved. This exchange usually includes insurance information and is the point at which you’ll probably realize an uninsured motorist is involved. Even without insurance, it’s important to get the name, phone number, address, and license information from other drivers involved.
In addition to contact information, you’ll also want to write down the make and models of vehicles involved, license plate numbers, and information about location, time of day, and driving conditions. Take photographs of the scene if possible to do so safely.
Also, keep in mind that contacting law enforcement after an accident is always important, but is even more so if someone does not have insurance. Police reports are an important part of getting the compensation you deserve and will make the claims process easier on you.
Contacting the Insurance Company
Now that you’ve dealt with the immediate aftermath of the collision, it’s time to contact your insurance company. The first thing you should tell them is that you were involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. In Colorado you should do so even if the other person shows you their proof of insurance. There is no guaranty that the insurance is current or hasn’t been canceled. And, proof of insurance doesn’t tell you the limits of the coverage under the policy. While a person may have insurance, many drivers simply don’t carry adequate limits. This is a vital piece of information for your insurance provider because it affects the entire claims process.
You’ll be asked for several pieces of information during the call, including:
- Your policy number
- Date, time, and location of the incident
- Details about the collision
- Contact information of the other driver(s)
- Name of the police department that responded to the call and the police report number
Some states are “no-fault” states, which means the victim’s insurance provider pays some or all of the claim when that person is involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. This is not the case in Colorado. Here, accident victims have the right to sue the responsible party any time they are injured or there is property damage in a car accident. Injuries do not need to be serious or permanent, either.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage
All drivers in Colorado must carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, but some do not adhere to these laws. To protect against involvement in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, many people invest in uninsured motorist coverage. This optional insurance coverage “steps into the shoes of the other driver” and may provide compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Vehicle damage
You can learn more about the basics of uninsured motorist coverage in this article from Forbes.
If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Doing so ensures someone is on your side protecting your rights. For more information or to discuss your case, contact Brad Hall at Lyons Gaddis in Longmont at (303) 776-9900 or in Louisville at (720) 726-3670.