I Was Hit By an Uninsured Driver in Philadelphia. Now What?
Posted on Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 at 2:07 pm
You get into a car accident in Philadelphia and quickly realize that the person who hit you doesn’t have insurance. What can you do? Can you still recover compensation, or are you out of luck?
Fortunately, you can still seek damages for your accident-related costs and injuries. There are actually a few ways for you to approach an injury claim after an accident with an uninsured driver.
Pennsylvania Requires Car Insurance, But Not Everyone Complies
If you own a car in Pennsylvania, you’re required to purchase car insurance. State law establishes the minimum amount of coverage you have to buy. You’ll be considered fully covered if you have:
- Medical Benefits: $5,000 per accident
- Bodily Injury Liability: $15,000 per person; $30,000 per accident, and
- Property Damage Liability: $5,000 per accident.
You’ll be considered to be underinsured if you have a policy that doesn’t meet these minimums.
Even though everyone is required to purchase and maintain car insurance, not everyone does. It’s estimated that about 13 percent of drivers in the United States are uninsured. In Pennsylvania, seven percent of drivers don’t have insurance. Uninsured drivers may have never purchased car insurance or might’ve allowed their policy to lapse. Either way, it can cause a headache for you if you get into an accident with them.
Insurers Are Legally Required to Offer You Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Pennsylvania knows that some drivers don’t have insurance. In order to protect insured drivers, the state requires all insurance companies to offer Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM).
These are extra policies that you can purchase to protect yourself and your passengers if you’re in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance, or whose policy doesn’t meet state minimums. You can stack UM and UIM coverage if you have multiple vehicles.
- UM can cover all of your damages (up to your policy limits) in an accident with an uninsured driver.
- UIM can pay the difference between your damages and what the other driver’s insufficient policy will pay (up to your policy limits).
UM and UIM do not cover the cost of damage to your property. However, if you’ve already added collision coverage to your policy, you won’t have to worry about that, regardless of who’s responsible for your accident.
Your insurance company is required to have you sign a Rejection of Uninsured Motorist Protection if you don’t want the extra coverage.
When another driver – who is responsible for your car accident – doesn’t have insurance, you’ll file a claim to recover UM and/or UIM benefits from your own insurance provider.
You Can Hold Any Negligent Party Personally Liable For Your Damages After an Accident
Insurance isn’t your only option after you get into an accident with an uninsured driver. You do have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against that person or anyone else who contributed to your accident.
It pays to work with an attorney who will carefully investigate your crash. They can determine the cause(s) of your accident and identify anyone who might be liable. This could include:
- The uninsured driver
- Other negligent parties, such as motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists
- Employers of negligent parties
- Transit companies
- Government agencies responsible for providing safe and drivable roads, and
- Companies that manufactured defective vehicles or products.
If you can identify a liable party – someone other than the uninsured driver – you might have an additional path to recovering much-needed compensation after a crash.
When you file a lawsuit, you’ll be filing a civil claim and asking a court to oversee your proceedings. This is different from negotiating a claim privately with an insurance company. With a lawsuit, you’ll be required to comply with state procedures and laws.
Whether you agree to a settlement or win your case in court, you can potentially recover damages for:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental and emotional distress
- Pain and suffering, and more.
These damages are a bit more comprehensive than what you’ll be able to recover through insurance, alone.
You will meet resistance whether you file an insurance claim or lawsuit. Hiring an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can make a huge difference as you fight for the money you need.