Most drivers, as the law requires, have at least some form of car insurance to make sure that if they are in an accident or if they cause an accident, they are able to be financially covered for any damages experienced or caused.
However, more often than we would like, accidents in Philadelphia and across the country are caused by drivers who do not have car insurance. This means that when they cause an accident, the victim of the accident cannot count on the other driver’s insurance company to provide the appropriate compensation to the victim to cover car damages and any injuries sustained in the accident.
This can be a real problem for accident victims who cannot afford to repair their car or pay their medical bills on their own. The statistics tell us that in Philadelphia, around 8% of drivers do not have car insurance. Although this is lower than the national average of 14% of uninsured motorists, those still make for disturbing odds about your likelihood of being involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver.
Furthermore, some drivers who cause accidents may have a small amount of car insurance, but not enough to cover the full costs of any damages to the car or to the other driver or passengers. These individuals are called underinsured drivers.
Be sure to check your own car insurance policy, because many car insurance companies do provide coverage called “uninsured motorist coverage” to protect their clients if they were to be hit by an uninsured driver.
There are also sometimes options that include underinsured motorist coverage as well. These kinds of coverage will pay out in the event that you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, making sure to cover the costs of your car repair and any medical bills for injuries you might have experienced in the accident.
Unfortunately, even if you have this kind of coverage, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay out for these kinds of cases. They will often make it very difficult to file such a claim, giving you a brief time limit in which to file a claim (usually 30 days) and requiring an arbitration claim with a third party involved. This is when hiring a lawyer who specializes in uninsured motorist claims can be extremely useful.
Your Philadelphia accident lawyer will work with you and with the insurance company as the arbitrator for your claim. They will make sure that your insurance company pays out compensation for your claim according to your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage policy. As the victim, it is your responsibility to determine whether or not the other driver has adequate car insurance.
If you know who the other driver is, you can request records from the Secretary of State office. If the other driver provides you with the name of a car insurance company, you should contact their insurance company to make sure that their coverage is still in force and has not lapsed or been cancelled.
As with any car accident, you should also try to photograph any car damage that occurred. If you have been injured in the accident, ask a witness or another passenger to assist you -- do not try to do so yourself. Your priority should be going to a hospital to attend to your injuries.
Additionally, make sure to read your own car insurance policy to see if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. In some cases, you may be able to utilize the Assigned Claims Plan (ACP) available for citizens of the state of Pennsylvania. Because some drivers do not have car insurance, Pennsylvania has the ACP that provides compensation for people who have been hit by an uninsured motorist. This fund can provide up to $15,000 of recovery money to assist with medical bills and vehicle damage. However, because of the fact that you must qualify for the fund, it can helpful to hire a Philadelphia accident lawyer to make sure that you have your case in order.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, be sure to contact a Philadelphia accident attorney today. Our lawyers have extensive experience working with these kinds of claims and can act as the arbitrator when you file a claim with your insurance company under your uninsured motorist coverage. They can also help you with your ACP application. Ultimately, they will fight to get you the compensation you deserve after your accident. Call us at 215 735 4800 to get your case started.