Motor vehicle accidents are usually sudden and traumatic and can confuse victims regarding the right course of action. In addition to worrying about who is liable, most victims also worry about whether the at-fault party is insured or not. Typically, getting hit by an uninsured driver adds to the stress of the accident as it complicates the damage recovery process.
Many people who get injured by an uninsured driver often worry about who will pay for the medical bills and if there is anything they can do to hold the at-fault party accountable. Despite the law requiring motorists to have car insurance and a certain amount of personal cover, not every driver is insured.
Statistics on Uninsured Drivers in Arizona
While some drivers can’t afford insurance, others don’t want to get it or are not bothered. In some cases, the drivers are uninsured because they are not supposed to be driving in the first place. It may be due to several reasons, including license suspension, revocation, or being underage.
According to a study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), in 2019, an estimated 11.8% of Arizona motorists were uninsured. The study also reported an estimated 12.6% or 1 in 8 drivers across America as uninsured in the same year. With recent developments, including rising inflation, the number of uninsured drivers in Arizona and across the country has likely increased.
With these statistics and the prevalence of road accidents in America, there is a high chance that the average American will be involved in an accident involving an uninsured driver at some point in their life. Accordingly, knowing what to do or who to call when injured by an uninsured driver is critical.
What to Do After Getting Injured by an Uninsured Driver
Even before you establish whether the other driver is insured or uninsured, there are things that everyone should do when injured in a car accident, including contacting the police and seeking medical treatment. You should also document the happenings at the scene of the accident, including taking pictures, as the information may be useful in a personal injury lawsuit.
When dealing with an uninsured driver, resist any attempt by the individual to discourage you from calling the police. Additionally, you should not accept direct payments for repairs and injuries as it can limit the amount you will get in a personal injury lawsuit. You can also get in trouble for the payments as the court might view them as a bribe by the at-fault party.
While in any other accident where you are not at fault, you can expect the other party’s insurance company to compensate you, an accident involving an insured driver limits your options. However, there are two main ways you may be able to recover damages for your injuries, including:
- Filing a civil lawsuit against the uninsured driver. While you can recover compensation by directly suing the at-fault driver, you will likely not get fair compensation. Typically, most people don’t have automobile insurance because they can’t afford it and hence will not afford to settle a compensation claim. However, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you explore other options for collecting as much as you deserve from the at-fault individual.
- Seeking additional compensation from your insurance company. However, this will depend on the details of your insurance policy, including whether it includes Uninsured Motorist Insurance (UM). In accidents involving uninsured drivers, UM coverage will pay for damages above what you get from the at-fault party.
Getting injured by an uninsured driver seriously complicates the damage recovery process. While you can protect yourself by carrying UM coverage, which is not a requirement in Arizona, you may still not get fair compensation. However, a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer can help you explore all the available legal options, and you may still be able to get fair compensation. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in an accident involving an uninsured driver in Arizona, don’t worry. Kevin Chapman is a well-qualified and skilled personal injury lawyer at Rowley Chapman & Barney and is committed to helping you get the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with him and to learn more about our services.