Car accidents in Norfolk happen when you least expect them. Even the most conscientious of drivers can find themselves involved in a crash or collision which causes serious injuries. As a result of another person’s reckless driving behavior, you may be left with heavy medical costs and the need for ongoing care. Your injuries can also prevent you from working or performing even simple daily activities. In these situations, the at fault drivers insurance policy can help offset your expenses. Unfortunately, many people end up driving without insurance for a variety of reasons. What can you do if you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver? As experienced Norfolk car accident lawyers, we want you to be aware of your options in seeking compensation.
Uninsured Drivers In Virginia
Automobile insurance policies are meant to protect you and others on the road in the event of car accidents and injuries. However, statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III) indicate that as many as one out of every ten drivers in Virginia lacks the proper insurance coverage. Those most likely to drive uninsured include:
- Motorists unwilling or unable to pay the costs of insurance;
- Drivers facing higher premiums due to prior car accidents or traffic tickets;
- Those without a valid driver’s license or vehicle registration;
- People who have been previously charged with driving under the influence.
In some cases, a driver may mistakenly assume that they have car insurance coverage in place only to find out their policy lapsed when an accident occurs. They may also have knowingly opted out-of-state insurance requirements by paying the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) a $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee. This fee does not alleviate the obligation to pay for losses in the event of a collision. It simply allows drivers to assume personal responsibility for these damages rather than be protected through an insurance policy.
What To Do In A Car Accident Involving An Uninsured Driver
Virginia car accident reports provided through the Highway Safety Office indicate that more than 4,000 crashes happen throughout the City of Norfolk each year. Car accidents caused serious injuries for more than 2,200 people over the course of 2017. Based on state averages, as many as 400 of these likely involved uninsured drivers.
In this situation, as with any type of crash or collision, your first step is to notify local law enforcement immediately. Additional actions you can take to protect your rights in a car accident claim include:
- Get the name and contact information for the other driver;
- Get the vehicle make and model, along with driver’s license and registration information;
- Make note of any witnesses at the scene;
- If possible, use your cellphone to take pictures of the area surrounding the crash, the damage to your car, and any injuries you sustain;
- Get medical attention right away, even if you are not experiencing symptoms;
- Notify your own car insurance provider as soon as possible.
Your Options In Seeking Compensation
Virginia financial responsibility laws require all drivers to pay for losses suffered by others in car accidents for which they are responsible. If you are in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver, you have several options in terms of seeking compensation.
- The first is to file a claim with your own insurer under your Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). The mandatory minimum amount drivers are required to purchase covers $25,000 for bodily injury/death of one person, $50,000 for two or more people, and $20,000 for property damages. Many drivers opt to purchase over these mandatory minimums, so be sure and check the terms of your policy.
- If your own policy is not enough to cover your damages, you may also opt to file a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver involved. Damages you may be entitled to include medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. Assets such as property and financial accounts can be seized and the person’s wages may be garnished to offset any amounts awarded through a settlement.
Our Norfolk Car Accident Lawyers Are Here To Help
When car accidents leave you suffering serious injuries, Shapiro & Appleton is here to help you get the compensation you need to recover. As Norfolk car accident lawyers, we have been providing trusted legal guidance and professional representation to clients in our area for more than 30 years. To discuss your options and how we can assist you in seeking compensation from an uninsured driver, call or contact our office online and request a free consultation today.