What to Do When Hit by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
Car accidents are never a pleasant experience, but when you’re involved in an accident with another party who turns out to be either underinsured or uninsured entirely, you can quickly find a new level of frustration and uncertainty in the situation. What happens if the person responsible for the accident has no insurance? Do you still have options to seek compensation to pay for your damages? In the aftermath of a wreck, these are important questions.
For experienced and effective legal representation in your auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, reach out to us at Blaszkow Legal, PLLC today. We are ready to examine the details of your accident, explain all of the options available to you, and help you pursue the compensation you need. We proudly serve clients in Alexandria, Virginia, and the surrounding areas of Arlington County, Fairfax County, Woodbridge, and Manassas.
Required Insurance Coverage in Virginia
As is common across the country, the state of Virginia requires a minimum level of insurance coverage for all licensed drivers, but it does allow drivers to “opt out” of carrying coverage by paying a $500 fee. In order to legally operate a vehicle in Virginia without paying the $500 opt-out fee, you must carry liability coverage with a minimum of $30,000 per person involved and $60,000 per accident, with $20,000 for property damage.
Though the minimum coverage listed above is required, there are still people who choose to get behind the wheel with less coverage—or no insurance coverage at all. When one of these individuals causes an accident, it adds complication to an already difficult situation.
Virginia Is a Fault Insurance State
Liability for car accidents is handled differently in different states. Virginia is what is referred to as a “fault state,” which means the party determined to have been responsible for causing the accident is held legally liable for paying damages to the other involved parties. All insurance claims and legal actions can be directed to this at-fault party and their insurance provider.
Options for Filing a Claim
In most auto accidents, all parties involved will notify their respective insurance companies, investigations will determine which party was at fault for the accident, and the case will proceed from there. In accidents involving uninsured motorists or drivers who may not be carrying the legally required minimum coverage and have not paid the $500 opt-out fee to waive their insurance requirements, the situation becomes more complex. Though it is not required, one way to avoid such potential difficulty is to work with your insurance provider to include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in your policy.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Provisions
Uninsured motorist coverage serves as your safety net in the event you are involved in an accident with a driver who is not insured or does not have enough coverage to pay for your damages. Thanks to new rules that took effect in the summer of 2023, there are provisions to make more compensation available to drivers involved in accidents with uninsured parties in Virginia.
Steps to Take If You Were Hit by an Uninsured/Underinsured Driver
Following an accident, your course of action should follow the following steps:
Get yourself and any other parties involved in the accident to safety.
Obtain contact information from the other driver, including their insurance policy information. Even if the driver informs you their insurance won’t be sufficient to cover the damages—or if they tell you they don’t have any insurance—it is still important to gather as much information from them as possible.
Contact your insurance provider to inquire about any existing uninsured/underinsured coverage in your policy.
Reach out to an attorney, no matter if you have insurance or not. An attorney can help insured individuals understand their rights and options. If you do not have any coverage that applies to uninsured/underinsured motorists, we at Blaszkow Legal, PLLC can help you learn about potential legal options, too.
Reach Out to an Experienced Attorney
Seeking a resolution after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver is not something that you should be attempting to handle on your own. By working with a knowledgeable car accident attorney, you can feel confident that your rights will be protected and that a dedicated professional will be there to look out for your best interests at every step of the process.
If you or a loved one has suffered physical or financial harm in an accident caused by another driver who is underinsured or uninsured, our team is ready to help. At Blaszkow Legal, PLLC, we are committed to standing up for individuals and families who are seeking financial compensation to pay their medical bills, offset the loss of wages if they are unable to work, and cover the cost of repairs for property damage. If you are in Alexandria, Virginia, or the nearby communities, contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.