You were just involved in a read-end hit. You know what to do: get the other driver’s car insurance information. Only… the driver has no insurance. Now what? Well, you have some options: sue the driver outright, file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company, or do nothing.
Driver Insurance Requirements in Washington
If you are required to register your vehicle in the State of Washington, you generally must be insured for minimum coverage of:
- $25,000 of bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident
- $50,000 of bodily injury or death of any two people in any one accident
- $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident
You could bypass this requirement with alternative proof of your ability to pay for an accident. This may include self-insurance or certifying that you have $60,000 in the bank. If you do not have insurance, or fulfill an alternative requirement, you could face a fine.
Washington State Has More Uninsured Drivers Than You Might Think
Many Washington drivers do not have insurance. And unfortunately, if you are one of them, then you won’t be able to file an uninsured motorist claim. And as Washington has one of the worst rates of uninsured drivers in the nation, there is a high probability that the other driver doesn’t have insurance either. So, to protect yourself from uninsured drivers, consider having car insurance and adding uninsured and underinsured coverage to your insurance.
Protect Yourself With Coverage In Your Own Policy
Not only can car insurance protect your personal assets if you are found responsible for a car accident, but it can also protect you if the driver does not have insurance or the coverage is insufficient to cover all of your expenses. You can add special coverage to your insurance to ensure you are best protected.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured (UM) and Underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage provides you with compensation when you are injured by another driver who has an insufficient insurance policy to cover your damages. If the driver has no insurance, you would file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company. If the driver’s insurance policy were insufficient, you would file an underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company. Your insurance company would then step in the at-fault driver’s shoes for the purpose of compensating you for your injuries.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays for your medical expenses and lost wages incurred from your injuries in a car accident regardless of fault. So, even if you cannot file an uninsured motorist claim because you lack the coverage, you can still receive compensation for your medical expenses, up to your policy limits. PIP is very beneficial because unlike your medical insurance, PIP does not have deductibles, co-pays, or arbitrary limits on provider visits. Moreover, you can see any medical professional you choose.
The Driver Is Uninsured, Now What?
If you found that the other driver is uninsured, look to your own policy. If you have UM insurance, then file an uninsured motorist claim. But what if you do not have UM insurance or the policy does not cover all of your damages?
If the uninsured driver was at fault for the accident, it may be worth pursuing a claim directly against the driver. You may also be able to place a hold on the uninsured driver’s license until the driver paid for your losses.
However, you may find collecting any judgment against the driver challenging. If the uninsured driver does not have a lot of assets, he could file for bankruptcy to avoid your judgment.
Contact an Experienced Uninsured Motorist Lawyer in Vancouver, WA
At Mila Boyd Law Offices, we can help you file your uninsured motorist claim. Or, we can help you with alternative means to obtain compensation. Call (360) 558-3874 today.