It’s a nightmare no driver wants to face. Everyone on the road is supposed to have insurance to help cover the costs of injuries. The other driver’s insurance company is supposed to provide compensation. But what happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance? How do you get the money you need for hospital bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering repairing your vehicle, and all the other troubles that come after a car accident?
Here are the steps you can take:
Get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
All insurance companies are required to offer you uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This is the first step in getting your bills paid if you’re injured by someone without insurance. Tennessee requires motorists to carry uninsured motorist coverage. Unless you reject it in writing, there is a good chance that you can just contact your insurance company and invoke this part of your policy to get compensation. Generally, the amount covered by the uninsured motorist coverage is the same amount that’s covered by your standard liability insurance.
If you have to use this insurance, you may have to pay a deductible. Assuming that the other driver was at fault, you can sue the driver for your deductible amount in small claims court. A personal injury attorney can help you prepare your case if you plan on suing the driver.
Collision coverage covers the costs of vehicle repairs in the event that the other driver cannot pay enough to cover it. It does not cover the costs of any injuries. But if your car is totaled, then collision coverage can help you get the money you need to get a new vehicle. However, collision coverage is an extra purchase for your policy so it will raise your premium to add it.
What if it’s Not Enough?
If you only have the minimum coverage and your injuries are extensive, catastrophic, or long-lasting, your coverage may not be enough to deal with all of the costs. In these cases, you may need to turn to the help of a personal injury attorney to sue the responsible party directly. Tennessee is an at-fault state. In other words, if you can prove to the court that the other driver was at fault in the accident, then they will be held responsible.
However, if the other driver isn’t carrying insurance they may not have enough assets to seize through a lawsuit to make it worth your while. A consultation with a car accident attorney can help you understand your options, as well as help you determine whether or not it would be worth the time and money to file a suit. You have up to one year after the accident for personal injury claims and three years after the accident for property damage claims, so don’t feel like you have to rush this decision. Start with your insurance company first, then contact an attorney.