5 Things to Do if You’re in an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist
Everyone wants to be safe while they are behind the wheel. But the truth is that people make mistakes when they drive, and unfortunately, car accidents happen. Also, not everyone prepares in advance by purchasing car insurance. Although driving in Tennessee without car insurance is illegal, about 20% of Tennessee drivers are uninsured motorists. If you find yourself in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may not know what to do. Continue reading to learn 5 things you should do if you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist:
1. Call the Police
Of course, like any other car accident, you should call 911. If you, your passengers, or people in the other vehicles are injured, it is critical to get the police and an ambulance to the scene of the accident. Since you are dealing with an uninsured driver, it is even more important to call the police, because the report will be critical to your ability to successfully make your insurance claim. Do not let anyone talk you out of calling the authorities to create a report for the crash.
2. Swap Information and Make Notes
Although the person who you got into an accident with doesn’t have insurance information to swap with you, you should get their name, phone number, and email address. You should get this information from all parties involved and from any eye witnesses. Make note of the time and location of your accident. Get the name of the responding officer and their badge number. You should also ask for a copy of the accident report card, which will have the report number you will need to obtain the actual report, which is usually available a few days after the crash. Any information you can obtain could help your case.
3. Take Pictures
In addition to gathering information and writing it down, you should take pictures of the accident. Take pictures of your own vehicle, as well as the other person’s vehicle. Be sure to take a picture of their license plate if you can. Pictures of the scene, showing the direction(s) you both were going, and any traffic signs are also important to document.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
You will want to contact your insurance company as soon as you can. It is essential to say that you were hit by an uninsured motorist since this information affects your claim. Many people may have Under-Insured or Uninsured Motorist coverage (UIM or UM) on their auto insurance policy, which compensates you when you are in an accident like this. Tennessee currently requires that every car insurance policy includes UM coverage with limits equal to the liability limits on the rest of the policy, unless declined by the insured. They also require that insurance companies automatically include UM coverage in every policy unless the policyholder signs a document saying they decline the coverage. If you are reading this and unsure of whether you have UIM or UM, then check your declarations page on your policy to be sure you have it.
5. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
After contacting your insurance company, you should promptly contact a personal injury lawyer. It’s possible that your car insurance policy won’t cover all of the damages to your vehicle and your medical bills. It is also almost certain that your own insurance company will try to pay you less than you deserve. Having UM or UIM simply means that your policy becomes the insurance policy for the other driver, if they are found to be at fault and uninsured. It does not mean that your company will agree to pay you fairly (or at all); your own policy will have the same rights and defenses as any other company would, and they will absolutely attempt to deny or reduce your claim in the same way as any other insurance company. The good news is that if you have to file a UM or UIM claim, your company cannot raise your rates or drop your coverage for doing so, pursuant to Tennessee law. Contact us today for more information. Our lawyers will fight for your compensation and get your expenses covered.
Dealing with an uninsured motorist doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Our attorneys can make the process easier for you. Contact one of our lawyers today to set up a free case review to discuss your uninsured motorist car accident.