What Happens If I Am Hit by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?

If you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Washington State, several scenarios and options come into play to cover your damages and injuries.

Immediate Steps

Immediately after being hit by another driver, you should:

  • Call the Police: Report the accident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report.
  • Gather Information: Collect as much information as possible from the other driver, witnesses, and the accident scene.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, get a medical evaluation to document any injuries.

While gathering information, you may discover that the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.

Insurance Coverage Options

The following are optional add-ons to your car insurance designed to protect you in scenarios where the other driver does not have insurance or enough of it. Unfortunately, these are additional coverages you need to have before being hit by an uninsured driver.

Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

UM coverage protects you if you’re hit by a driver who does not have insurance. This will cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that you would typically pursue from the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage

UIM coverage applies when the at-fault driver’s insurance cannot cover your damages. This will pay the difference between your damages and what the at-fault driver’s insurance can cover, up to your policy limits.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP coverage provides immediate payment for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault. This can cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses up to the limits of your policy.

Legal Options

You can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover damages. However, if they are uninsured or underinsured, collecting the judgment might be difficult if they have limited assets.

Alternatively, you can file a claim using your UM/UIM coverage. This process involves contacting your insurance company and providing evidence of the other driver’s lack of adequate insurance.

A Seattle car accident attorney can provide valuable advice, help you navigate the legal process, and represent you in negotiations or court proceedings. An attorney can also help you understand the value of your claim and maximize your compensation.

Washington State Laws

There are some state-specific considerations to note.

  • Mandatory Insurance: Washington State requires drivers to carry liability insurance, but not all comply.
  • Insurance Requirements: In Washington, minimum liability coverage is $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 for property damage.
  • Optional Coverages: UM and UIM coverage are not mandatory, but insurers must offer them, and policyholders can reject them in writing.
  • Statute of Limitations: In Washington State, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is generally three years from the accident date. Taking legal action within this timeframe is crucial to preserve your rights.
  • Comparative Fault: Washington follows a comparative fault rule, meaning your compensation may be reduced if you are found partially at fault for the accident. Your damages will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.

Get In Touch Today

It’s never a good time to get into a car accident, and it’s even worse when the other driver is uninsured. If an uninsured driver hits you, don’t hesitate to contact the Kent uninsured/underinsured motorists accident attorneys at Brumley Law Firm. Schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your car accident claim and explore legal options. Call us today at (833) 832-2727 or fill out our contact form to book your consultation.