It is a dreaded scenario; you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident in Ohio, and the at-fault driver does not have insurance. While you may think this is a hopeless situation, there are still a couple of ways you may be able to pursue compensation:
- Filing a claim with your own auto insurance if you have uninsured coverage on your policy
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
In this article, we’ll look at both options in more detail.
Making an Uninsured Driver Accident Claim with Your Own Auto Insurance
Astonishingly, about one in eight motorists in the U.S. drives without insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Ohio falls slightly above the national average, with about 13 percent of drivers in this state being uninsured.
While having uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage makes claims easier, it is not included as a standard on car insurance policies (Ohio Revised Code Section 3937.18), so not everyone has it.
However, if you do have UIM protection on your policy, you can file a claim with your auto insurance company to cover your damages, up to your policy’s limits. Our uninsured motorist attorneys can help you navigate the insurance system and explain what you are entitled to recover under your policy.
Does Making a UIM Claim Raise My Premium?
Ohio law (Ohio Revised Code Section 3937.23) prevents insurance companies from increasing the cost of your premium if you were involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, provided that you are not at fault for the accident.
Financial Damages Available in Insurance Claims
Your UIM coverage should cover the following damages up to policy limits:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Damaged property
- Other losses
Even if you paid extra for UIM coverage, your insurer may contest your claim or attempt to diminish the extent of your injuries to reduce their financial exposure to the claim. As such, you will need to prove the elements of your case related to fault, the cause of your injuries, and the cost of your medical treatment and other damages.
Again, our uninsured accident lawyers can help you with this and every other aspect of your case so that you can focus on your recovery and leave the legal heavy lifting to us.
For a free legal consultation, call (614) 538-1116
Filing a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver
If you do not have UIM coverage, you may still have grounds for a negligence lawsuit against the other driver, provided you are less than 51% at fault for the accident, per Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.33. Our legal team can help you determine what is in your best interest and how to proceed with your case. For example, we can help you determine whether the other driver has assets to cover your damages.
As with an insurance claim, you will need to gather evidence to demonstrate the other driver caused the accident resulting in your injuries and subsequent financial damages. Evidence to support your case can come from police reports, medical records, wage stubs, witness statements, medical expert testimony, CCTV footage, and photographs taken at the scene.
Financial Damages Available in Personal Injury Lawsuits
The damages you may be able to recover in a lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses and treatment costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost income and compensation for any impact on your future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
If the accident caused the loss of a loved one, surviving family members might be able to file a wrongful death action against the at-fault driver.
Time Limits Apply When Filing an Insurance Claim or Personal Injury Lawsuit
Per Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10, injured parties generally have two years to file a lawsuit. Time limits for insurance claims are different and can vary by provider. However, you should report the accident to your insurance provider immediately.
Remember that a report is different from a claim, so you only need to inform your insurer of the basic details about the accident. It is better to avoid going into detail at this stage, as you may not have all of the information about the extent of your injuries early on, and the insurance company may use this to its advantage.
Seeking legal advice before going into detail with your insurance company can be beneficial. Many law firms (including ours) offer a free consultation, so you can learn more about your legal options and avoid mistakes that could harm your case later on.
Learn More About Your Legal Options with a Free Case Review
If you have questions about your legal options after being injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, our team at Bressman Law is keen to hear from you. We have been helping injured Ohioans with their injury cases for over 30 years. Let us deal with the stress of your insurance claim or lawsuit so that you can focus on your recovery. Your free consultation awaits.