If I recently got in an accidentbut the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance or assets, what can I do?

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Accident Law, Washington


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your auto insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, you can file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company.  You can file a property damage claim and if you were injured in the accident, a separate personal injury claim.  The property damage claim will pay for the repairs to your car.  If you were injured, when you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.  Your personal injury claim will consist of these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for any documented wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Prior to receiving medical treatment, be sure you have uninsured motorist coverage to avoid being hit with huge bills.   When you complete your treatment, if you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault driver.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance company, you will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter. 

If you don't have uninsured motorist coverage, you will need to sue the at-fault driver for negligence.  Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit) will be the cost of repairs to your car (property damage) and for personal injury the amount of the medical bills, wage loss and compensation for pain and suffering.

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