Hit by an Uninsured Driver in NY? Here’s What You Need to Know
Getting hit by an uninsured driver leaves you facing a mountain of bills and headaches. Your car is wrecked, your body is bruised, and the person who hit you is nowhere to be found. Now what?
If this happened to you in New York, don’t worry – you have options. Even though the driver lacks insurance, you can take steps to get compensation for damages and medical expenses.
In this guide, we’ll outline exactly what to do after an uninsured driver hits you, from filing a police report to dealing with insurance to taking legal action.
Call the Police and File an Accident Report
No matter how minor the car accident may seem, you should always contact law enforcement. An official accident report backed by police carries much more legal weight than your word alone when filing insurance claims.
Provide the responding officer with accurate details on how the crash took place. If you sustained any injuries, be sure to mention those as well. The police likely won’t determine fault or issue citations in the initial investigation. However, the report produced helps verify your version of events.
Exchange Driver Contact and Insurance Information
Next, politely obtain the at-fault motorist’s driver’s license, registration, and insurance information. And specifically ask for proof of current auto insurance.
Unfortunately, some dishonest drivers will pretend they have insurance at the scene. Refrain from taking anyone at their word. Physically examine their insurance card to confirm coverage.
If they refuse to furnish documentation or flee outright, gather the license plate number, vehicle make and model, and physical description of the driver. This data aids the authorities in tracking down hit-and-run offenders.
Seek Medical Care for Your Injuries
Even minor collisions can cause hidden injuries that don’t materialize until days later. The shock and adrenaline of an accident often mask underlying trauma as well.
Make sure to get checked out by a doctor whether or not you feel hurt. Tell your physician exactly how the crash occurred so they know which areas require closer examination.
In addition, promptly reporting health issues strengthens your injury claim later. Remember that gaps in treatment history weaken arguments for damages.
Collect Evidence From the Accident Scene
While waiting for the authorities to show up, photograph all damage sustained by both vehicles. Capture images displaying the final resting positions after impact as well. If possible, snap wider shots to establish the scene geography, too.
In addition, jot down observations regarding weather and road conditions plus accident factors like skid marks on the pavement. Collecting evidence after a car accident helps reconstruct how the collision transpired when reviewing liability later.
Exchange contact data with any witnesses present, too. Eyewitness statements reinforcing fault sway negotiations or courtroom decisions profoundly.
Contact Your Insurance Provider About Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Your insurance policy most likely includes uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This provision permits filing a personal injury claim through your own insurer when the at-fault driver lacks adequate insurance.
Reach out to your provider immediately after a collision with an uninsured motorist. Give preliminary notification of your intent to submit a claim. Provide all documentation and evidence collected previously when formally launching the process later.
How Uninsured Motorist Claims Work in New York
New York state law requires every driver to purchase uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. You must buy UM insurance coverage with limits of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. New York’s uninsured motorist coverage, designed to protect innocent accident victims from financial misery, exists in all standard auto insurance plans.
This provision kicks in with the following collision protections when:
- At-fault drivers have no insurance whatsoever
- Hit-and-run motorists leave an accident scene
- Underinsured drivers carry extremely low liability limits
UM coverage works like traditional liability insurance linked to the at-fault motorist when invoked.
However, reimbursement maximums under uninsured provisions match your policy’s bodily injury limits—usually $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident. Unique add-ons can raise these caps even higher as desired.
Submitting an Uninsured Motorist Injury Claim
Launching an uninsured motorist claim resembles the standard accident claim process with a few unique wrinkles.
Step 1: Report the Accident to Both Your Insurer and the Authorities
Contact your insurance provider about the collision right away. Send in the police report, exchange documentation, medical records, and scene evidence to support your claim.
Promptly reporting the incident prevents issues with late notification clauses in policies. Plus, insurance companies can open investigations faster when details are fresh.
Step 2: Undergo Necessary Medical Treatment
As touched on earlier, significant injury ramifications often emerge weeks after crashes. Seek opinions from various specialists and follow prescribed recovery plans before concluding treatment.
The total value of physical damages may reach your policy limits. And if you stop your care prematurely, you’ll forfeit the right to procure compensation later.
Step 3: Calculate Total Crash Damages
Add up all quantifiable losses tied to the accident with an uninsured driver once medical issues are known. This calculation includes property damage, outpatient and therapy bills, income loss from missed work, and calculated future costs stemming from permanent impairment.
Physical pain and emotional distress also carry value and require consideration. An experienced New York car accident lawyer can apply established legal guidelines to appraise these general damages for negotiation purposes.
Step 4: Demand Uninsured Motorist Benefits from Your Insurer
With adequate proof in hand, you or your attorney should submit a formal demand letter requesting uninsured claim disbursement from your provider. The letter should summarize case particulars plus demand precise compensation for every documented loss utilizing dollar amounts.
Insurers almost always counter with lower offers initially. Skillful personal injury attorneys bargain toward an equitable settlement through back-and-forth dialogue. If necessary, they’ll also file a lawsuit to compel higher reimbursement.
Why Work With a Car Accident Attorney on Uninsured Claims
Pursuing compensation after getting into an accident with someone who’s uninsured but having legal guidance can make all the difference. An experienced car accident attorney can investigate your case, deal with the insurance companies, and fight to get you the injury settlement you deserve.
At Held, Held & Held, we can help with:
- Determining Fault and Documenting Damages – We will gather police reports, speak to witnesses, obtain medical records, and build evidence to prove the other driver’s fault. This documentation is key to getting fair compensation.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies – Car insurance companies have whole legal teams working against your interests. We can handle those negotiations and fight for the compensation you deserve.
- Understanding All Available Coverage – Besides your own UM coverage, we can identify other applicable policies to claim from, increasing your potential settlement.
- Avoiding Mistakes – The claims process has tight deadlines and many complex legal issues. We prevent you from jeopardizing your right to compensation.
The bottom line? Retaining legal counsel levels the playing field when dealing with insurance companies. With an uninsured motorist claim, having an experienced attorney in your corner can mean the difference between getting the maximum settlement you deserve or walking away with much less.
Ready to Discuss Your Uninsured Driver Accident Case?
Suffering injuries and vehicle damage from uninsured drivers can leave you facing unbearable losses. But legal options exist, offering you paths to financial relief.
At Held, Held & Held, we’ve spent years assisting injured people across New York State to obtain proper compensation after an uninsured motorist crash. Explore your rights and discover the legal avenues to make you whole again. Contact us today.