In almost every state, driving without car insurance is illegal, just as drunk driving is. Unfortunately, while an ignition interlock device can prevent a person who is drunk from driving, there is no such device that prevents a person from starting and operating a vehicle that is inadequately covered for liability. According to some estimates, between 10% and 15% of all drivers on the road are uninsured. If you're hit by an uninsured driver, you may not know what to do. However, just because the other driver does not have insurance doesn't mean that you are not entitled to compensation for damages. Your next step usually involves filing a claim with your own insurance company, but your options are different depending on where the accident occurred and what type of coverage you have. 1. Personal Injury Protection PIP coverage allows you to file a claim with your own insurance company for injuries sustained in the accident. In the 12 no-fault states, all drivers are required to carry PIP coverage. Even in states that don't require it, it is usually a coverage option that can be added to your policy. 2. Uninsured Motorist Coverage Most states outside of the 12 no-fault states require all drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. Here again, it is usually available as an option even in states where it is not required. If the person who hit you does not have insurance, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. However, it can be difficult to recover damages even under your own policy. Therefore, you should gather as much evidence as you can demonstrating that you were not at fault for the accident. This includes medical bills, repair receipts, photos from the accident scene, and a police report. 3. Lawsuit Suing the person who hit you is another option if filing a claim with your own insurance company does not pay out sufficient damages. However, this may not be as successful as you hope. Usually, the reason that people don't have car insurance is that they cannot afford it. If that's the case, the other driver may be judgment-proof, meaning that he or she does not have enough money to pay you even if you do win your lawsuit. Therefore, it is usually better to pursue a claim with your own insurance company, if possible. When the other driver does not have insurance, it represents a complication to what is already a very difficult and confusing situation. Contact a law office for a consultation, and an attorney, like a car accident lawyer in Washington, DC from Cohen & Cohen, should be able to offer some clarity.
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