Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is tough. There are vehicle repairs to be made, follow-up medical treatments to schedule and other circumstance to deal with that can throw a wrench in your schedule. If you were not at fault for the accident, at least you can rest assured knowing that the insurance company of the person who hit you will cover your costs.
But what if the person at fault doesn’t have car insurance? This scenario can make a bad situation worse. Luckily, with the help of a car accident lawyer, there are several things you can do to receive the compensation you need to get on with your life. Let’s take a look at a few of your options.
Contact Your Car Insurance Company
In West Virginia, drivers are required by law to have uninsured motorist coverage included in their car insurance policy. This coverage protects insured drivers in the state from people on the roads without insurance. Even though car insurance is required by law across the nation, many people still drive without it.
Uninsured motorist coverage enables you to make a claim against your own insurance company up to your policy’s limits. There’s also underinsured motorist coverage, which is reserved for situations when the other driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover your damages. These forms of coverage can only be done if the uninsured person was at fault for the accident.
It’s important to notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident so they are aware that you intend to file an uninsured or underinsured claim against them. Some companies enforce a short deadline on their insureds, so any delay can decrease your chances of receiving proper coverage.
How Uninsured/Underinsured Claims Work
The person who hit you may just tell you that they don’t have car insurance, but there’s a chance they may try to hide this fact from you. If they refuse to give you their insurance information and you have no other way to get their information, notify your insurer as soon as possible and let them know you plan to file an uninsured claim. This will at least ensure that you’ve met the deadline, even if the claim isn’t necessary down the line.
West Virginia’s uninsured motorist coverage minimum limits are $10,000 for property damage, $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, these minimum limits may not be enough to cover your damages, so think about obtaining a coverage amount that makes the most sense for you.
Underinsured driver claims usually take more time to develop. As you continue medical treatment and your car accident lawyer helps determine the value of your case, you may discover that the at-fault driver’s liability coverage is insufficient. Inform your insurance company immediately about your intent to make an underinsured motorist claim.
The claims process will involve a pre-trial investigation, a review of your medical records and accounts from witnesses. The process is very similar to standard car accident claims, however, if you and your insurer are unable to agree on a settlement amount, a lawsuit cannot be filed.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
A qualified attorney can help you with the process following your accident with an uninsured driver. If your insurance company tries to avoid paying you the benefits you deserve, the attorneys at Stewart Bell, PLLC will assist you in obtaining the coverage you need. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.