Stress and trauma are common reactions to a car accident. Many people in Pennsylvania break the law by driving without auto insurance. If the other motorist is uninsured, you're going to have to figure out how you'll be compensated for your injuries, property damage, and possibly missed wages. Many victims of uninsured drivers seek legal counsel on how to pursue compensation for their injuries.
You may be able to sue an uninsured motorist for damages in Pennsylvania if you were hit by one and suffered financial losses as a result of the accident. Consult with a lawyer who specializes in car accidents in Pennsylvania to learn about your legal rights and options. If you're hurt in a car accident with an uninsured motorist in Pennsylvania, how much you're able to receive in compensation depends on several factors, including your own insurance, the at-fault driver's assets, the vehicle's owner, and whether or not any other parties were at fault.
Below, you will find more information to help you decide if you should sue an uninsured driver if you have been involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania.
What to Do in Pennsylvania If You're Involved in an Accident With an Uninsured Driver
You should take specific actions if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and plan on filing a lawsuit. Seeking medical assistance for yourself or anyone else who may have been injured in the accident is your first priority. You should also call the police and wait for them to arrive.
Even if a negligent driver doesn't have insurance, there's still information you can obtain from them. If the car is registered, you should also ask the driver for their license and registration information, as well as their home address. Document the injuries you sustained as well as the state of both automobiles. You should get a statement and contact information from any witnesses to the accident you may find. You should also make a note of any unfavorable environmental factors, such as weather or lighting.
Request a copy of the police report once they have arrived and completed their investigation of the accident scene. As quickly as possible, you should report the incident to your insurance company.
What Happens If the Other Driver in a Car Accident Doesn't Have Insurance?
What happens after being hit by an uninsured driver in Philadelphia varies. A car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver can help you obtain the money you need to recover from the incident. Before accepting any payments, you should consult a lawyer about all of your potential options for obtaining compensation.
Pennsylvania law mandates that all drivers carry coverage that meets minimum requirements.
In the state of Pennsylvania, the minimum requirements for car insurance are as follows:
- Bodily injury liability insurance – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
- Property damage liability insurance – $5,000
- First-party benefits medical payments – $5,000
There may be additional coverage options for "uninsured" or "underinsured" coverage. This will pay you additional funds if your first-party benefits are insufficient to cover your accident and the other driver has no insurance or insufficient insurance to cover your requirements. The state of Pennsylvania does not mandate uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and drivers must purchase this coverage as an add-on to their primary insurance policy. In Pennsylvania, the bare minimum for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.
Unfortunately, if you get hit by an uninsured motorist and sustain severe bodily injuries and vehicle damage, the minimum limits of your uninsured motorist coverage may not be sufficient to cover your expenses. If your insurance policy is insufficient to cover the cost of your injuries, it may be advisable to sue the other motorist.
If you require additional information regarding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in Pennsylvania, you should consult with an experienced PA car accident attorney.
Taking Legal Action Against an Uninsured Motorist in PA
This is often the first option that car accident victims consider, and if you've been injured due to another driver's negligence or recklessness, you always have the option of suing the driver personally. However, it can be difficult to file a lawsuit against an uninsured driver. A negligent driver without sufficient personal assets may render a lawsuit ineffective, or even a loss. In other words, if the uninsured driver is unable to pay for the damages, the lawsuit will cost you even more money.
In certain circumstances, the court may be able to enforce a negotiated payment schedule
Other collection options for personal injury debts include:
- The defendant's wages or bank accounts are garnished
- Placing a lien on real estate
- Seizing personal property
- Additionally, his/her license could be suspended until the debt is paid
Uninsured Driver Driving an Insured Car
If suing the uninsured driver for damages is not an option, another avenue to investigate is the vehicle's owner. Contrary to popular belief, auto insurance follows the vehicle rather than the driver. If the owner of a vehicle has insurance, any driver of that vehicle will be covered as long as they are not specifically excluded from coverage. If the owner allowed the negligent driver to operate and drive the vehicle, the owner may be liable for the accident.
Third Party Liability
Other drivers, manufacturers of vehicle parts, and others may be liable for the accident if their negligence contributed in any way to its occurrence or intensified the severity of your injuries. For example, auto parts manufacturers are responsible for their safety. These companies can be held responsible if the parts fail due to manufacturing defects. In some instances, an improperly installed vehicle component can result in a collision. When this occurs, the dealership or mechanic who inadequately maintained your vehicle is liable.
Safeguarding Yourself Against Uninsured Drivers
If you reside in Pennsylvania, the best method to protect yourself is to obtain a standard policy and add uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) to your own car insurance policy. This additional coverage may have higher premiums, but it can protect your assets and well-being.
How Long Do I Have in PA to File an Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawsuit?
Automobile incidents fall under the category of personal injury law in Pennsylvania. Pa. C.S.A. § 5524 imposes a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. This statute stipulates that you normally have two years following an accident to file a lawsuit. It is not applicable to insurance claims, which may be subject to their own deadlines.
If you don't file your claim within the specified period, the court may dismiss it.
In addition to reaching the statute of limitations, there are additional benefits to filing your case early. For instance, the witnesses you've gathered for your case will have an easier time recalling the specifics of the accident if the case starts quickly. If you begin preparing for a lawsuit as soon as possible, it will also be easier to find and collect any evidence you may need to prove your case.
Get Help Today With a Pennsylvania Uninsured Driver Claim
After a car accident caused by someone else's carelessness or recklessness, you are entitled to the highest amount of compensation for your losses. Working with an experienced PA car accident lawyer can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Why take the chance of being compensated unjustly if you have no recourse? When you hire Brandon J. Broderick as your personal injury attorney, you pay nothing upfront. We only collect payment for our services if we win your case. If we lose, you do not pay.
Contact attorney Brandon J. Broderick for a free consultation. With our track record of success and dedication to client care, we can help you recover from your setback.