Ohio requires that all drivers obtain auto insurance to drive on the roads, but unfortunately, that does not stop many people from ignoring the law. More than 192,000 drivers were cited for driving without insurance in Franklin and surrounding counties in 2012, according to figures from the Columbus Dispatch. Fortunately, many avenues of recovery exist for responsible motorists who fall victim to irresponsible people.
In order to make any claims against one’s own insurance company, insured drivers need to establish that the driver is uninsured and that the uninsured driver was at fault in the accident. But drivers may even pursue legal action against the at-fault driver him/herself.
Options for Recovery after an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
Even if uninsured, drivers are liable for the injuries and economic harm that they cause, and insured motorists may bring lawsuits in court against uninsured drivers after an accident. Some uninsured drivers, however, are uninsured because they do not have the means to pay for auto insurance. Pursuing a lawsuit against the driver might be a futile effort because the uninsured motorist may not have enough assets or income to satisfy any court judgments against him or her.
In most cases, the best option people have when involved in an accident with an uninsured driver is to file a claim against the driver’s uninsured motorist policy, if it exists. This essentially replaces the at-fault driver’s liability insurance and pays your bodily injury and property damage expenses up to the limits of the policy. Uninsured motorist coverage even applies if you were in a hit-and-run accident.
The insurance company may pursue recovery from the uninsured motorist for the award that the company pays to the policyholder. It is important that anyone involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist immediately notify their insurance company and refrain from entering into agreements with the uninsured driver to avoid accidentally losing the right to make an insurance claim.
What to Do If You’re Involved in an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist
The most important thing to do in any accident is to gather as much information as possible about the other driver, including name, birthdate, license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, and insurance policy number, if any. Document any auto repair bills or medical bills as well. You’ll have to establish that the uninsured driver was at fault, therefore, that you qualify to recover under your uninsured motorist policy. Photographs, witness statements and police reports are just a sampling of evidence that might be helpful.
In Ohio, a motorist hit by an uninsured driver who suffers injury or sustains more than $400 in damage can file a Bureau of Motor Vehicles Crash Report (Form 3303). If the Bureau determines the other party is uninsured, it will suspend his or her license.
Accidents involving uninsured motorists often unfairly stick responsible drivers with high costs. The attorneys at Bressman Law understand the ins and outs of insurance law and all the tricks insurance companies play to try to get out of claims. Our team in Columbus will work hard to ensure that you get fair and adequate treatment from your insurance company. Call our offices at (877) 538-1116 to schedule a free consultation. There is no cost to you unless we successfully recover monetary compensation on your behalf.