Should I get a lawyer if I was in a car accident and was uninsured?

I was in an accident 2 months ago I was broad sided by another vehicle on private property. At the time of the accident I did not know that I was unindured. I am willing to pay the insurance company for the damages of the vehicle but keep getting calls from a collection agency that keeps telling me the price is going up and they want payment now. What should I do?

Asked on August 21, 2012 under Accident Law, West Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Since the other vehicle hit you, the other party is at fault in the accident.  You owe the other party nothing.  The at-fault party's insurance carrier should be paying for the cost of repairs to your car  and you should file a property damage claim with the at-fault party's insurance carrier.  Since you were not at fault in the accident, the fact that you were uninsured is irrelevant.

If you were injured in the accident, you should file a separate personal injury claim with the at-fault party's insurance carrier.  When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injury claim filed with the at-fault party's insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party/ registered owner of the vehicle (if different from the at-fault driver).  If the case is settled with the insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

If you were NOT injured in the accident, you would still file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party (registered owner of the vehicle) if the property damage claim is NOT settled with the insurance carrier.

As for an attorney representing you, if you were not injured, an attorney who handles civil litigation will be able to assist you.  If you were injured in the accident, it would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.


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