What Happens When You Are in a Crash with an Uninsured Driver? - Catalano Law

What Happens When You Are in a Crash with an Uninsured Driver?

In New York, like in many other states, it’s a legal requirement for drivers to have car liability insurance. However, not every driver follows this rule. You might find yourself in a complex situation after a crash with an uninsured driver, feeling uncertain and frustrated about what to do next.

Understanding your potential settlement options after an uninsured motorist accident can help you take the right steps to file for all available compensation.

What Does New York Insurance Law Say?

In New York, all vehicle owners must carry liability insurance. This insurance covers the costs related to bodily injury and property damage if the driver is at fault in an accident.

Minimums are $10,000 (property damage), $25,000/$50,000 (for bodily injury/death of a person in an accident), and $50,000/$100,000 (bodily injury /death for two or more people in an accident). 

Uninsured motorists refer to drivers who do not carry state-mandated liability insurance. It can also refer to a hit-and-run driver who flees the scene of an accident.

Can You Still Receive Compensation if an Uninsured Driver Hits You?

In New York, you typically file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance if you’re involved in a car accident. If the driver who caused your injuries is uninsured, you have a few options for compensation.

Most commonly, you can file for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits or submit an uninsured motorist claim. The Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation may compensate you if you meet certain criteria. 

What Do PIP Benefits Cover in New York?

In New York, no-fault insurance, commonly known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, is crucial for drivers and victims of auto accidents. It is required in the state and pays for economic losses stemming from injuries in an auto accident, regardless of fault.

You must carry a minimum of $50,000 in PIP insurance per person. This covers medical expenses, 80% of lost wages, and a $2,000 death benefit. However, this does not cover vehicle damage or other property losses.

What is an Uninsured (UM) Motorists Insurance Claim?

Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance provides coverage if you’re injured by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or if you’re a victim of a hit-and-run. Your UM coverage pays for the damages if another driver is at fault and uninsured.

In New York, having UM coverage is a legal requirement. Every driver must carry UM coverage equal to the liability minimums to ensure protection against bodily injuries caused by uninsured drivers. However, it doesn’t cover property damage, like car repairs.

When you file a UM claim, you can receive compensation just as in a standard third-party claim. This can include coverage for medical expenses and lost earnings. It may also include pain and suffering damages if your injuries meet the state’s serious injury threshold.

What is the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation?

The Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC) serves as a safety net in New York for those injured in auto accidents by uninsured drivers or in hit-and-runs. If you lack auto insurance or aren’t covered by a household member’s policy, MVAIC can provide coverage.

Victims should report the incident to authorities and file a claim with MVAIC. You typically must submit a Notice of Intention within 90 days if the accident was a hit and run and 180 days if the driver was uninsured. This can cover medical and related expenses, lost earnings, and death benefits.

Can I File a Lawsuit against an At-Fault Uninsured Driver?

If you can identify the uninsured or the hit-and-run driver who caused your injuries, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them with the help of an attorney. Legal action can help you seek compensation directly from the at-fault party.

However, collecting the damages can be challenging even if you win the lawsuit and receive a favorable judgment. In many cases, uninsured drivers may not have the financial resources to pay, rendering the award uncollectible.

What Should You Do After an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist?

Getting into an accident is overwhelming, but discovering the other driver is uninsured can complicate your claim. Here are some crucial steps to follow after a collision:

Learn Your Compensation Options With Catalano Law

Navigating the aftermath of a crash with an uninsured driver can be stressful. An experienced auto injury attorney from Catalano Law can explain your rights and guide you through your options for compensation after a collision with an uninsured driver.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your accident and to learn how we can help you protect your right to compensation. 

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