Every motor vehicle driver in Nebraska is legally required to maintain minimum amounts of car insurance. Unfortunately, hundreds of drivers illegally drive while uninsured and underinsured every day. If you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver, it is important to know what steps to take to pursue financial compensation for your medical bills and property repairs.
Do Not Accept Cash From an Uninsured Driver
You should never accept cash from an uninsured driver for your losses. If an uninsured driver tries to convince you not to report the car accident to the police or your insurance company, do not go along with this plan. There are many potential risks involved with doing this, including fines and even jail time for attempting to settle a legal matter without insurance.
Accepting cash comes with a high likelihood of getting less than you need to pay for your losses. If the uninsured driver tries to give you cash at the scene of the accident before you have been to a doctor, for example, you may not understand the extent or severity of your injuries. Since the adrenaline from the crash may initially mask pain and other symptoms, you may not realize that you have even been injured at all.
You may also fail to account for the various costs and losses associated with the car accident, such as your lost wages from having to miss time at work, the full cost to repair your motor vehicle, the price of replacing personal possessions that were damaged in the crash, and treatments or ongoing care for an injury. While taking cash may seem like the easiest solution, never accept this type of offer. Instead, consult with a car accident lawyer about your legal options.
Notify Law Enforcement
Always report a car accident involving an uninsured driver, even if there are no injuries and the damage appears to be minor. Driving without insurance is against the law in Nebraska. Reporting the uninsured driver can hold him or her accountable for breaking the state’s insurance laws. The driver may have his or her license suspended until he or she can show proof of insurance, for example.
Another reason to call 911 at the scene of the crash is to obtain a police accident report. Dealing with a claim involving an uninsured driver is challenging enough without additional complications caused by failing to report the crash to the police. Your insurance company will request a copy of the police report to support your claim and provide evidence of your losses. The crash report will make note of the other driver’s lack of insurance to show to your insurance provider.
Get Medical Attention
Get immediate medical care after any motor vehicle accident in Nebraska. Prompt treatment by a medical professional can quickly diagnose any injuries that you suffered and begin treatment to aid in your recovery. Your car insurance company will look to see how quickly you received medical care for your injuries. Delaying your trip to the doctor could give the insurer a reason to reject your claim.
Document the uninsured driver car accident as much as possible. Write down the uninsured driver’s full name, address, contact information, a description of his or her vehicle, and the vehicle license plate numbers. If the driver has insurance but is underinsured or the policy has lapsed, write down the insurance information. If there are any witnesses, obtain their information for statements, as well.
Before you leave the scene, take photographs of the car accident, including all involved vehicles and the crash scene as a whole. Ask a law enforcement officer for your police report number so that you can obtain a copy for your records. After you see a doctor, request copies of your medical records and health care bills. Document all communications with a car insurance company, including your own insurer.
Contact Your Auto Insurance Company
Nebraska is a fault-based insurance state. Under this law, the driver or party at fault for a vehicle accident is responsible for paying for related bills and damages. Unfortunately, if the other driver in your case is uninsured, a claim against this driver may not be an option. You may need to seek coverage through your own auto insurance provider, instead.
Nebraska law requires drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. This first-party coverage can pay for your accident-related costs after a collision with an uninsured driver, including your medical care. It can also pay for hit-and-run accidents, where the other driver flees the scene and is not identified.
Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the car accident. Explain that the other driver involved does not have insurance. Give the insurance claims adjuster the information you have about the crash, but do not admit fault or go into more detail than is necessary. If the insurer asks you to give a recorded statement, politely decline. This is often a tactic to find inconsistencies in your story to use against you later.
Explore Other Legal Options With an Attorney
Filing a UM or UIM insurance claim with your own provider may not be your only option for obtaining financial compensation for a car accident with an uninsured driver. It is important to consult with an Omaha car accident attorney about your specific circumstances to determine if coverage may be available from other sources.
- Using your health insurance policy for additional medical bill coverage.
- Seeking coverage through collision or comprehensive car insurance.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver to hold him or her personally responsible.
- Holding the driver’s employer liable, if the driver was working at the time of the crash.
- Bringing a claim against a third party, such as a vehicle part manufacturer or the government.
A car accident lawyer can investigate your case and explain your legal options. If someone other than the uninsured driver contributed to your crash, for example, this could provide an additional source of insurance coverage to pay for your losses.
Contact the experienced attorneys at Knowles Law Firm for assistance if you have been injured in a car accident with an uninsured driver. Call (402) 999-4839 for a free consultation.