While the majority of Coloradans accept financial responsibility when they cause an auto accident, there are individuals who choose to head out on the open road with insufficient insurance coverage – or no insurance coverage at all. These under-insured or uninsured drivers can create serious – and seriously expensive – problems for you in the event of a collision. How can you protect yourself against under-insured and uninsured drivers? Read on, and we’ll tell you:
Being Aware of the Risk
The first step to protecting yourself against an encounter with an under-insured or uninsured driver is to be aware that these types of drivers are out there and to understand what type of harm they could inflict upon you and your loved ones. Consider the fact that, regardless of how large or seemingly small a collision seems to be, every accident can result in injuries and complications in addition to significant damage to your property. Even a small scratch or “fender bender” could lead to a costly repair bill, or could even result in yourself or a passenger suffering from whiplash, a concussion, or another serious injury.
If the at-fault driver is carrying a sufficient amount of liability insurance, and the at-fault driver’s insurance is willing to reasonably evaluate your damages (which is another issue altogether), you and your loved ones can receive compensation for your losses. You may find, however, that the at-fault driver is carrying insufficient insurance to cover damages to life and property, or that the other driver isn’t carrying any liability insurance at all. When this happens, you may find yourself draining your savings account or going into debt to repair or replace your vehicle, or to pay for hospital and medical bills. From here, your only option may be to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in hopes of recovering your losses down the road. It’s a true nightmare scenario for anyone who has just been the victim of an accident. However, there is another way to get compensated for your damages if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance or any insurance at all.
Once you understand how grave the risks of being involved in an accident with an under-insured or uninsured driver truly are, you will want to do whatever you can to protect yourself from being victimized. Here are a few measures you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Buy Under-insured/Uninsured Insurance Coverage – Most auto insurers offer policies that work to protect you and offer compensation in the event that you are involved in an accident where the at-fault driver is under-insured or uninsured. It’s always in your best interest to buy a policy like this to cover your needs before having to resort to suing an at-fault driver.
- Exchange Information – Just because the other driver claims to be uninsured, or can only provide an expired proof of insurance at the scene of the accident, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother to exchange information. In fact, you should be diligent in this process, obtaining as much information about the other driver as you can. This can help you identify insurance coverage that may not be known about at the time of the accident or prove helpful when pursuing legal action down the road if that’s your best means of getting compensation.
- Contact the Authorities – If an under-insured or uninsured driver has involved you in an accident, chances are that he or she will ask you to not call the police, instead of allowing them the opportunity to pay you back out of their own pocket. No matter what the driver says or how nice he or she seems, you should ALWAYS contact the authorities. Having an official police report will make a huge difference in your case.
- Hire an Attorney – As soon as you’ve received medical treatment and are in a stable condition, you should reach out to a reliable personal injury lawyer with experience in dealing with under-insured and uninsured drivers. Your attorney will help you build a case that will allow you to be compensated for your losses.