Unlike many other states, it is actually legal to drive without auto insurance in Virginia as long as a yearly uninsured driver fee is paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The simple truth is that there are people on the road without insurance, whether they have paid that fee or not, and eventually some of those people will get into accidents. Even if you’ve done the responsible thing and bought insurance, you may end up with a hefty pile of bills after an accident with an uninsured driver.
What to Do When You Are Injured by a Driver Without Insurance
This all-too-common scenario can be especially devastating if you require a lengthy recovery period where you can’t work, which is why you want a personal injury lawyer working on your behalf. Even if you have excellent auto insurance, your policy is unlikely to make a dent in the costs of emergency room visits, physical therapy, or long-term absence from employment.
When dealing with an uninsured driver, your options are unfortunately limited. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you make the best of a bad situation in one of these three main ways:
File an uninsured motorist claim against your insurance company
Many insurance plans include an uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage clause. You need to specifically file a claim to seek compensation through this type of coverage, and the amount is typically capped. Check with your insurance carrier to see if you have this coverage and if the covered amount can be increased before an accident occurs.
Seek compensation from the uninsured driver’s assets
While you may want to go after the negligent driver who caused your Virginia car accident, this is often the least useful option. A driver without insurance likely doesn’t have the personal assets required to cover your medical bills or loss of wages.
Look for other liable parties to hold accountable
In some circumstances, a different party beside the driver may have been at fault for your injury. For instance, a construction crew or city government may have behaved negligently and created unsafe road conditions, or an auto manufacturer may be responsible if they released a faulty part that caused the crash.
Regardless of which option is best for you, an attorney can also handle communication with your insurance company. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer shows you intend to pursue compensation to the fullest extent of the law, which makes both insurance carriers and negligent drivers more likely to settle.