You think you're covered. You did the research, found a good insurance plan. You drive safely, and you're aware of your fellow drivers. You think you've done all the right things, then, suddenly, you're hit by an uninsured driver. What do you do?
Unfortunately, in Arizona and New Mexico, despite laws meant to deter it, people drive with no coverage or too little coverage every day. In New Mexico, it's estimated that drivers have about a 1 in 5 chance of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver. In this blog, we'll discuss what this may mean if it happens to you, how you can take steps to prepare against this situation, and when you should hire a car accident lawyer.
What Happens After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver?
Despite how unfortunate and maddening it may be to get into an accident with a driver who has no insurance, it happens every single day. In these cases, your own uninsured motorist insurance or other forms of insurance may help compensate you for the damage. However, a lawsuit against the irresponsible driver could be a waste of time and money (we'll talk more about this below).
Should I Get Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
While uninsured motorist insurance is not required by law in Arizona or New Mexico, our car accident lawyers highly recommend you have it. It can be a saving grace if you are ever in need of it. Some scenarios where uninsured motorist insurance can help include:
- You're in an accident with an at-fault uninsured driver
- You're in an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn't have enough liability coverage to compensate you for the damage
- You're in a hit-and-run accident and are unable to obtain insurance information from the at-fault driver
In the above cases, having uninsured motorist coverage can vastly protect you.
What About Other Forms of Insurance?
Depending on your policy, you may have other forms of insurance that could help you recuperate losses after a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. However, note that different types of coverage pay for different types of damages. This means that while you may use your collision coverage to pay for damage to your vehicle, you won't be able to use that to pay for any injuries you sustained as a result of the accident.
For medical injuries, Arizona and New Mexico have Medical Payments Insurance (MedPay) options, which help with hospital bills after an accident. Some states have Personal Injury Protection insurance options (used in no-fault states), which provide additional protection when you are injured in an accident, however, Arizona nor New Mexico offer this type of coverage.
Should I File a Lawsuit?
While the option of filing a lawsuit may be available to you after an accident with an uninsured driver, it could be a dead-end option. If you win the lawsuit, there may be no way to guarantee that you will be able to collect on the judgment, as the defendant may not have many assets.
At What Point Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Consulting with a car accident lawyer in New Mexico or Arizona is a good first step if you are unsure what to do after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. While turning to your own insurance coverage may be the only option, an experienced attorney can help you understand the available options, navigate any next steps, and negotiate with your insurance provider. If filing a lawsuit is a good route, your lawyer will provide you with that information after examining the facts of your case. If you've found yourself in this unfortunate situation, give us a call or text today to set up an initial free consultation. You can reach us at (602) 345-1818, or fill out our convenient online contact form.