If the driver who hit you is uninsured, you can potentially still recover compensation for your losses. Under Pennsylvania’s no-fault auto insurance system, you can rely on your no-fault policy to cover some of your medical care after an accident. This is true no matter who caused the crash. This policy may even pay for your full medical treatment if you only suffered minor or moderate injuries.
How do I Get Compensation If an Uninsured Motorist Caused My Accident?
If the driver who hit you did not have the liability insurance required under Pennsylvania’s financial responsibility law, you generally have two options for recovering compensation above and beyond your no-fault coverage.
Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim
If you have uninsured motorist coverage under your own car insurance policy, filing a claim based on this policy may be the quickest and easiest way to recover the money you need to cover your financial losses and expenses. In addition, this should cover your damages up to the policy’s limit.
An uninsured motorist accident lawyer from Berger and Green can review your insurance paperwork and determine if you carry this optional coverage. If so, we can collect the evidence to prove your case and document your damages. Then, we will file your claim for you and try to negotiate a fair settlement with your insurance company.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, your only option may be to pursue litigation. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, we may be able to hold the uninsured driver who caused your crash personally accountable for the damages you suffered.
However, there are some downfalls to filing a civil suit against an uninsured driver. First, even if we win your case, the driver may not have the assets to cover your damages. Without an insurance company to back them, we can only collect the resources they have available. For this reason, we need to know their financial standing before filing a lawsuit.
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What Damages Are Possible Through a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If the at-fault driver can pay for your losses, there are two major types of damages you may be eligible to recover through a lawsuit: economic and non-economic damages.
Everyone who suffers damages in a car accident can hold the at-fault driver responsible for their economic losses. These often include:
- Any medical bills not covered by no-fault insurance;
- Ongoing and future care costs;
- Lost wages and future lost income;
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs;
- Other property damage; and
- Miscellaneous expenses.
If you opted for full tort coverage or suffered serious injuries in the wreck, you can also try to recover additional compensation for your non-economic losses. Also known as “pain and suffering damages,” this type of compensation can sometimes eclipse the value of your financial losses.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me with This Process?
We offer free case evaluations and can help you better understand your options for getting the money you need to cover your losses if the driver who hit you did not have insurance. In addition, we can help you determine your best route to financial recovery after a crash with an uninsured driver.
If you let us handle your car accident case, our legal team can:
- Review the facts of your case;
- Explain your options for trying to get the money you need;
- Conduct a full investigation into the cause of your accident;
- Prove the at-fault driver acted negligently and is liable;
- Collect documentation of your accident-related damages;
- Put a fair value on your case; and
- If possible, file an uninsured motorist claim and negotiate with the insurance company.
If we believe you have a viable personal injury case against the driver, we will:
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist;
- Represent you in front of the Judge and jury;
- Present a strong case for compensation in court; and
- Argue for the total compensation you deserve.
How does Liability Work in Uninsured Motorist Cases?
An at-fault driver’s insurance status has no bearing on liability in uninsured motorist cases. In auto accidents, it is crucial that you or your legal team show that another party was at fault, regardless of insurance status.
As noted previously, our team can gather evidence to begin the process of establishing liability. Evidence in a car accident case may include:
- Traffic camera footage
- Images of the crash scene
- Your medical records
- Statements from crash reconstruction specialists
- Eyewitness interviews
This information can be used to highlight instances of negligent roadway behavior, like:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Ignoring roadway signage
- Otherwise behaving in an unsafe manner
If there is a clear instance of unsafe behavior, we will proceed by working to establish the four elements of negligence. These elements are used to pin legal liability to the at-fault party and include:
- That the at-fault party owed you a duty of care: A duty of care is a legal precedent that holds drivers responsible for keeping others safe on the roadway. This element of negligence is typically a given in uninsured motorist cases.
- That the at-fault party breached their duty of care: A breach of duty describes any number of negligent behaviors, like speeding or drunk driving. This element is a prerequisite for car accident claims. We can use available evidence to work towards showing that the at-fault party behaved negligently before causing your accident.
- That this negligent behavior caused your accident: You or your legal team cannot just show that the liable party behaved negligently, though. The evidence must demonstrate a linkage between their negligent behavior and your accident/injuries.
- Damages: Finally, you can rely on your medical records and other expenses to show that you suffered because of the accident. This element of negligence will ultimately be used to determine the value of your case.
Who Can I Sue After an Uninsured Motorist Accident?
In uninsured motorist cases, you can typically sue one of two parties:
- Another driver: Uninsured motorist cases usually involve individuals driving personal vehicles. If you know that another driver caused your accident, then your case is straightforward. You can rely on your own uninsured motorist insurance coverage or a lawsuit to pursue compensation.
- An employer: Per Pennsylvania state law, “a master is liable for the torts of his servant if the latter’s tortious conduct was within the scope of his employment.” This means that an employer could be held liable in your case, provided your uninsured motorist accident was caused by an employee who was on the clock. However, it is uncommon for businesses not to carry insurance.
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How Long do I Have to File an Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawsuit?
In Pennsylvania, car accidents are lumped into the category of personal injury law. Personal injury cases are subject to a statute of limitations, per Pa. C.S.A. § 5524. The presence of this statute means that you typically have two years after your accident to file a lawsuit. It does not apply to insurance claims, which may have their own corresponding deadlines.
For this reason, you should not delay getting started on your car accident case. Ideally, you will not have to file a lawsuit. However, a lawsuit may be your only option if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage.
Similarly, the sooner you get started on your case, the more time you or your lawyer will have to build your case. The benefits of preparation in a legal case cannot be understated.
Learn More About Your Legal Options by Contacting a Car Accident Attorney Today
The car accident lawyers from Berger and Green will review your case for free. We can go over the possible options for holding the at-fault driver accountable if they are uninsured and explain the pros and cons of each scenario. Call us today for your complimentary consultation.