It’s bad enough when you get into a car accident with a dangerous or negligent driver and suffer a serious injury. Then you find out that the other driver does not have auto insurance, or at least not enough to cover your damages.
In Virginia, all motorists are required to carry insurance, but the minimum liability required is only $25,000. Catastrophic injuries generally cost much more than that in medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and related damages. And what if the driver has no insurance at all? What are your options for getting compensation for your injuries?
Avenues for recovery
One option is to sue the driver anyway. If they are liable for your injuries, they can be held personally responsible for compensating you. However, a common reason for someone not to have auto insurance is that they cannot afford it. And someone who cannot afford relatively inexpensive insurance premiums will probably not have the money to pay you hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
This is when Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance (UM/UIM) can come into play. UM/UIM coverage can be part of your own auto insurance policy. You make a claim on it when you get into a wreck that was someone else’s fault but that other party lacks sufficient coverage. This can help pay your medical bills as well as the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
Taking on the insurance company
However, just because you are filing a claim with your own insurance company, don’t expect them to treat you any better. If your claim is expensive, your insurer will likely drag out the claims process as they seek an excuse to deny it or make a lowball settlement offer. You may need help from a personal injury attorney to assert your rights and ensure a fair outcome.