What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Have you been involved in a car accident in NYC with a driver who was uninsured or underinsured? Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. can help you fight to get the compensation you need and deserve. Give our NYC car accident attorneys a call to arrange a time to discuss your rights and options. Your initial case assessment is always free, so don’t hesitate to contact us for help today.
You’ll Have to File a Claim With Your Insurer First, Anyway
If you get into an accident in New York City, you actually don’t have to worry about whether other parties involved were insured. At least, not right away. That’s because New York has “no-fault” insurance rules. You’ll be required to recover benefits from your own personal car insurance policy first, regardless of who caused your accident.
First, you’ll have to notify your insurance provider that you were involved in an accident. Next, you’ll go through the steps of filing a claim for benefits under your policy. You’ll have to submit a demand letter asking for compensation that’s backed by evidence to support your request. This might include, among other things, medical bills, an estimate for repairing your car, and an assessment of your lost wages.
Your insurance provider can pay up to the limits of your specific policy. So, you can potentially recover up to your policy limits. If you purchased the minimum amount of coverage as required by state law, you’d personally be limited to recovering:
- $50,000 for property damage
- $25,000 for bodily injury if one person was involved, and
- $50,000 for death.
Car accidents can be quite severe and leave victims with extensive injuries. It’s quite possible that the cost of your injuries will exceed what your insurance company can and will pay. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll have to consider other options for recovering additional compensation.
Your Insurance Payout Could Be Higher If You Have UIM
When you purchase a car insurance policy, the provider is legally required to offer you something called “uninsured motorist coverage.” It’s also known as UM or UIM. This is optional coverage that helps you if you happen to be involved in an accident with someone who is underinsured or uninsured.
Underinsured means that a driver has insurance, but not enough to satisfy state minimums.
Uninsured means that a driver has no insurance coverage, whatsoever.
You uninsured motorist policy can cover accident-related costs incurred by:
- The policyholder
- The driver, and
- Occupants of the vehicle.
UIM coverage kicks in once you’ve maxed out your primary policy benefits. You can then receive additional compensation from your insurance provider, up to the limits of your UIM policy.
Keep in mind, you can only recover UIM benefits if you purchased this type of coverage before you were involved in your accident. If you don’t have this supplemental insurance coverage, you might have to demand compensation from another insurance company or interested party.
Consider There Might Be More Than One Liable Party
Accidents are rarely black and white. Several factors might ultimately contribute to a collision and, in turn, your injuries. Under New York state law, fault for an accident is apportioned between all responsible parties. In other words, anyone who contributes to an accident can be held financially accountable for resulting harm.
This is why it’s critical to make sure that your accident is investigated thoroughly. At Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C., we work hard to uncover all possible causes of your accident. When we understand why a collision occurred, we can use that information to establish who is to blame.
If someone other than the uninsured driver shares any degree of responsibility, you can rest assured that Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. will work hard to hold them accountable.
Comparative Negligence and Apportionment of Liability
When someone contributes to an accident, they’re allocated some of the blame. The larger their role in causing the accident, the more blame they’re assigned. So, your ability to recover compensation from parties other than the uninsured will often depend on how much of the blame they’re assigned.
For example, let’s say you’re hit by an uninsured driver at an intersection in Manhattan. The other driver was texting and not paying attention at the time of the accident. They tried to hit their brakes but weren’t able to stop their car before slamming into you. An investigation reveals that the brakes on the driver’s car weren’t working properly due to a manufacturing defect. This defect contributed to the crash, so you can potentially hold the manufacturer accountable.
The manufacturer is assigned 20 percent of the blame for the crash. As a result, the manufacturer can be liable for up to 20 percent of your accident-related damages. While this might be a fraction of your costs, it can make a huge difference when the person who is responsible for 80 percent of your injuries can’t pay.
Consider a Civil Personal Injury Lawsuit After Your NYC Car Accident
Let’s say there are no other liable parties. The driver who is underinsured or uninsured is entirely responsible for your injuries. You’ve maxed out the benefits available under your car insurance policy but still have additional costs.
What can you do? One option is to hold the uninsured driver personally responsible for your remaining damages. You can file a civil personal injury lawsuit and name them as the defendant. Ask a court to order that person to pay you out of their own pocket.
This may or may not be a successful tactic. New York state law requires all motorists to purchase car insurance because the costs of an accident can be extensive. Many times, these costs are more than an individual can cover on their own. When a driver doesn’t purchase insurance, it could be due to the fact that they can’t afford it. If they can’t afford car insurance, they probably won’t be able to satisfy a judgment if you win a lawsuit against them.
This is another reason why it’s so important to exhaust all possible sources of compensation after an accident. Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. can help to make sure that this happens. Just give our law office a call to schedule a consultation with our NYC personal injury lawyers to learn more.
How Many Drivers in New York Don’t Have Insurance?
New York drivers are actually pretty good about buying car insurance. In fact, only one state in the nation – Maine – has fewer uninsured drivers on the road than New York. In 2015, it was estimated that 6.1 percent of drivers in New York didn’t have mandatory coverage.
It’s more difficult to say how many drivers are underinsured. In New York, a motorist has to show proof of insurance when registering a motor vehicle. So, the majority of cars on the road have necessary coverage. The state won’t register a car if a driver purchases a policy that doesn’t satisfy the state minimum.
In reality, you’re probably most likely to run into an uninsured driver when a car is not registered with the state.
What Should I Do After an Accident With an Uninsured Driver in NYC?
Try not to panic. Keep in mind that the decisions you make in the moments after your car accident can have a huge impact down the line.
Stop and Stay at the Scene: It’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident in New York if anyone was injured or killed, or if there is substantial damage to property. Stay and exchange information with other drivers while you wait for the police. If the uninsured driver doesn’t stick around, try to remember the make and model of their car, as well as the license plate. In a hit and run scenario, you can potentially get compensation if you have UIM coverage.
Report the Accident: Call the police and report the accident. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, they’ll probably get a ticket when the police arrive on the scene. The officers will also complete a police report, which can be critical if you need to file an injury claim or lawsuit in the future.
Get Medical Help: Insurance companies will fight you as you pursue benefits for your injuries. The best thing to do is to make sure that you have evidence to back up your requests. Medical records can be really helpful as you navigate the claims process.
Document Your Injury and the Accident: Try to write down the names of witnesses and record your memory of the events. Take photos of anything that seems relevant, including the scene, vehicles involved, property damage, and your injuries.
Direct Questions to Your Lawyer: Insurers will try to get you to accept a settlement for the least possible amount of money. They’ll employ a lot of different tricks to make that happen. When you have a NYC personal injury attorney handling your case, this becomes much more difficult. Simply direct all communication to your NYC personal injury lawyer.
Need Help? Call Our NYC Car Accident Lawyers
Just because another driver is uninsured doesn’t mean that you can’t get money after an accident in New York City. Call Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. to schedule a free consultation to learn about the options that might be available to you. We’re always available to take your call – 24/7/365.