Roughly 1 in 7 drivers throughout the United States drive without insurance. This occurs despite the fact that many states require drivers to purchase insurance, including Louisiana. Drivers may be licensed in states that don’t require it, may be in a period without insurance coverage, or be in other circumstances where are behind the wheel without insurance.
What do you do if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance?
It’s an excellent question, because in most cases, injuries and damages caused by a vehicle collision are paid for by insurance companies.
If you are hit by a driver without insurance, you may not be able to get medical bills or repair of your vehicle covered — things that are paid for routinely if the other driver is at fault and has insurance.
Purchasing Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Is the Best Way to Protect Yourself
Frankly, the best way to protect yourself from a driver with no insurance is to follow the state requirement. Louisiana state law mandates that everyone who buys a car insurance policy include coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists (UIM).
It is part of the general requirements for vehicle owners, who are mandated to purchase liability insurance as well. This is done so that drivers have protection against claims by people who might be injured in a car crash.
Now, under Louisiana law you may decline UIM coverage. You must do so in writing, officially.
But doing so leaves you vulnerable to those 1 in 7 drivers without insurance. The UIM coverage that’s part of your own policy will help you if you or a family member is injured in a car accident, the other driver is at fault, and either has no insurance or carries too little insurance to coverage your damages.
Yes, UIM policies may cost a little more. But considering that hospital stays and lost wages from injuries can add up to thousands and even millions of dollars, it is worth it.
Personal Injury Claims Depend on Assets
We are sometimes asked if suing the at-fault driver for personal injury is a possibility.
Yes, it is a possibility if personal injury was caused by that driver’s negligence. But a personal injury claim needs, ultimately, to be paid for from the assets of the defendant. If your damages from an accident are significant, the other driver’s assets may not cover them. This is especially so since medical bills and hospital stays can outstrip even the price of a house and savings.
Ultimately, there is no guarantee that another driver will have any significant assets. The less risky strategy is to sign up for UIM insurance.
It is a good idea to consult an attorney if you have been in a collision where the other driver had no insurance.
When You Need a Louisiana Attorney
If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in an accident, Lafayette and Baton Rouge car accident attorney Bart Bernard can help. Bart has enormous expertise in cases where the other driver has no insurance.
Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. For a free consultation, call 337-989-BART (Lafayette) / 225-275-BART (Baton Rouge) or contact me online today.
More information on accidents with no-insurance drivers:
- Brinson, Linda C. What happens if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver? How Stuff Works. https://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/auto-insurance/accident-with-uninsured-driver.htm
- State of Louisiana. Louisiana Department of Public Safety, Office of Motor Vehicles. Required Proof of Liability Insurance Prior to Registration of Vehicles, http://www.dps.state.la.us/omv1.nsf/58c968bd569b099986256cdc000806eb/89f0a313d753f522862564cf004a2c5f?OpenDocument.