Any car crash can be devastating, but an accident with an uninsured driver can be even more overwhelming. You may be unsure about where you’ll recover compensation for your losses, and you not know what to do next.
When dealing with an uninsured motorist claim, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to fight for your rights. Contact The Law Offices of Loren Scott Etengoff today at (360) 693-2919 to find out how we can help you.
What Are Car Insurance Requirements in Washington?
The state of Washington requires that all drivers have car insurance that will cover injuries and damages that they cause in an accident. This is called “liability coverage.” Liability ensures that the other person will be covered if you cause an accident. Washington State requires the following amounts of liability insurance:
- $25,000 per person per accident
- $50,000 for all injuries or deaths in one accident
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
An uninsured driver may legally deny liability coverage if they prove that they have the ability to pay for an accident. For example, they may certify that they have at least $60,000 in the bank.
There Are More Uninsured Drivers in Washington Than You Might Think
Most people without liability coverage are not doing so legally. The Insurance Information Institute indicates that as many as 16% of drivers in Washington are uninsured.
Because so many people drive without insurance, you should protect yourself from an uninsured driver. You can suffer serious injuries in any accident, even one with an uninsured driver.
You Can Still Recover Compensation After an Uninsured Motorist Accident
If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may wonder how you will recover funds to cover your medical bills, lost wages, damage to your car, and more. You have two main options:
- make a claim on your own insurance policy, or
- file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver.
If you have uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) coverage, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. If you have a crash with an uninsured driver, your UM coverage will apply. You should be able to recover enough compensation to cover your expenses.
However, your insurance company will function as if it were someone else’s policy. Because of this, your insurance company is not looking out for your best interests. It wants to save money and pay out as little as possible. It’s best to have an experienced personal injury attorney to negotiate with your insurance company if you plan on filing a UM / UIM policy claim.
You may also choose to sue the uninsured driver who hit your car. If you bring a lawsuit against the uninsured driver, they will be held liable for any damages they caused. That will include medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, property damage, and more. However, many uninsured drivers do not have a significant amount of money to pay out even if they are ordered to pay you money in a lawsuit.
A skilled injury lawyer can investigate the assets of the other party. He can also determine if they will have the ability to pay for your losses if you win a lawsuit against them. In some cases, you may be able to garnish their wages to pay for their debt to you.
If You’re in an Accident With an Uninsured Driver, We Can Help
Any car accident can be devastating, but it can be especially confusing if the motorist does not have insurance. The Law Offices of Loren Scott Etengoff can help if you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver. Call us today at (360) 693-2919.