Car accidents are terrifying, and the claims process can be confusing and cumbersome. Perhaps even worse than a car accident is a car accident with an uninsured driver. Especially in Iowa, where at-fault drivers are responsible for paying for injuries and damages to others, most typically through their liability insurance coverage, an accident with an uninsured driver can raise a lot of questions about financial liability for the crash and how you’ll recover compensation. If you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, here are four steps to take to improve your chances of getting compensated for your harm
- Report the Accident and Request a Copy
The other driver may try to convince you not to report the accident to the police since they are uninsured – this would be a big mistake. Reporting your accident will be key for proving a connection between the accident and any damages you’ve suffered, as well as promoting an investigation into fault for the accident. Once you have filed the police report, be sure to keep a copy. You’ll need this during the claims process.
- Call Your Insurance Company
The second important thing that you need to do when in an accident, and especially when in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver, is to call your insurance company to report the accident. If the other driver does have some form of insurance, your insurance company will likely begin to pursue a claim against them. If you’ll need to turn to your own insurance company for compensation, you have a duty to provide it with notice of the accident as soon as possible so it has time to investigate the crash.
- Review Your Policy
You may be fearful that you won’t be able to recover any compensation for your crash because the other driver, who was at fault for your accident, doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for your damages. However, there’s a good chance that your own insurance coverage will kick in to pay for your damages. As such, reviewing your policy in-depth is critical. Types of insurance coverage that you may have as part of your policy include:
- Uninsured motorist coverage, which pays for your damages when you’re in a crash with an uninsured driver;
- Underinsured motorist coverage, which can help to make up the difference when the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your injuries;
- Medical payments coverage, which can pay for medical expenses regardless of fault; and
- Collision coverage, which pays for damage to your vehicle, regardless of fault, after a crash.
- Call an Attorney
Finally, the fourth-most important thing to do when in a crash with an uninsured driver is to call an attorney as soon as possible after the crash. Your attorney will understand the situation that you’re in and will know what steps to take to improve the outcome of your claim. Examples of ways that an attorney can serve you include:
- Investigating your accident;
- Gathering evidence to prove fault;
- Determining whether filing a lawsuit directly against the uninsured driver would be a worthwhile endeavor;
- Reviewing your insurance policies;
- Determining other sources of compensation;
- Filing your claim;
- Negotiating your settlement; and
- Representing you in litigation if necessary.
Call Our Law Firm Today
For the legal support and guidance you need when you are in a crash with an uninsured driver, call our Iowa car accident attorneys at the Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP. You can reach our lawyers by phone or online for your free consultation today.