When you’re injured in a car accident, you at least hope the insurance companies should cover your injuries and damaged property. But if a driver without insurance hits you, your situation becomes more complicated. You need to figure out how to pay for your injuries and repair or replace your car. Since the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for those expenses. These challenges are significant hurdles during an already chaotic period in your life – and they should not be yours to clear.
The team at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC wants to help if you are struggling after an uninsured motorist accident in West Virginia. Our Morgantown uninsured motorist accident lawyers have decades of experience with these cases and can help you maximize your financial recovery. We previously worked defending insurance companies and can use the knowledge and experience we gained there to your advantage. Call us today or visit our contact page for a free consultation.
Uninsured Motorist Statistics in West Virginia
The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that about 12.6 of all drivers nationwide did not have insurance in a recent year. The III researchers also looked at the percentage of uninsured drivers in each state and found that 9.2 percent of West Virginia drivers did not have insurance. While that figure is lower than the national average, it is alarming to think that close to 10 percent of all West Virginia drivers are uninsured.
West Virginia Auto Insurance Laws
According to the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, all drivers in the state must carry uninsured motorist coverage. The minimum amounts of uninsured motorist insurance you must have are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in property damage coverage. You can increase your uninsured motorist coverage if you wish, which may be a good idea. Knowing your injuries are covered if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver can provide you with some peace of mind.
According to the state Department of Transportation, the potential penalties for driving without insurance include:
- Jail time
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Suspension of your vehicle’s registration
Uninsured Motorist Accidents Liability
In West Virginia, the driver found liable for a crash is responsible for paying for the other driver’s injuries and damaged property. This is generally not an issue in cases where both drivers are insured. But getting the money you need is harder if one of the drivers in the crash is uninsured.
Before pursuing compensation from an uninsured driver, you need to prove they are at fault for the crash. Some evidence you can use to establish the other driver caused the accident includes:
- Police reports
- Eyewitness accounts
- Expert testimony
- Crash scene photos
- Surveillance footage
- Medical records
- Forensic accident reconstructions
The uninsured driver will almost certainly dispute your claim because they know they could be in deep trouble if they are found liable. A skilled car accident attorney can help secure the evidence you need to fight back and demand the compensation you deserve.
Seeking Compensation After an Uninsured Motorist Accident
You have a few options for recovering compensation after an uninsured motorist accident in West Virginia, including:
- Suing the other driver — The standard option for recovering compensation after a car accident is to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. But if the other driver is not insured, that option is not available to you. You still have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver and pursue compensation that way. An experienced attorney can help you pursue this option and demand your financial recovery in court.
- Filing an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company — The easiest and most practical way to recover compensation after an uninsured motorist accident is to file a claim with your insurer. Because West Virginia law requires you to have uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, this option should always be available. We recommend working with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to make the most of your uninsured motorist coverage.
- Using your other insurance coverage — If your uninsured motorist coverage is not enough to cover all your injuries and expenses after a crash, you may be able to use additional insurance to supplement your uninsured motorist coverage. For instance, you may have health insurance that you can use to help cover your medical expenses. You may also have supplemental insurance included in your auto insurance coverage that you can use, such as medical payments coverage. A car accident lawyer can review your insurance options with you to ensure all your injuries are covered.
Compensation for an Uninsured Motorist Accident
The amount you can recover after an uninsured motorist accident depends on your insurance coverage, whether you played any role in causing the crash, the other driver’s assets, and other factors. By working with a Morgantown uninsured motorist accident lawyer, you can seek compensation for losses such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lower quality of life
- Damaged personal property
What to Do After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver in West Virginia
You need to do everything you can to protect your rights after a collision with an uninsured driver. Here are the steps to take to protect yourself and your right to compensation:
- Seek medical treatment — If you have severe injuries after an uninsured motorist accident, emergency medical personnel will likely take you from the scene to a hospital. Even if your injuries do not appear severe, you still want to see a doctor right away. You need to ensure you have no hidden injuries. The doctor can also document all the harm you suffered in the crash. Save all your medical records in case you need them later.
- Keep documents — In addition to your medical records, keep copies of any documentation related to your injuries and losses from the accident. If you have to miss time from work to treat your injuries, include a copy of your regular pay stub and copies of the ones that show the time you missed from work. Keep copies of receipts for your prescription medication, assistive medical devices, and any household help you must hire. Hang onto repair estimates for your vehicle and any receipts from replacing personal property lost or damaged in the accident.
- Do not give any statements to your insurance company — You do not have to worry about the other driver’s insurance company if the driver does not have insurance. However, you still need to be careful about what you say to your insurance company. You do not want to say or do anything that may suggest you are at fault for the crash. Talk to a lawyer before giving any statements to your insurer.
- Keep a pain journal — Keep a daily record of how your injuries and the associated pain affect your life. Make notes of your pain level and specific entries about what you cannot do or how you must change your routines because of your injury.
- Stay off social media — Even though it might seem natural to post news and updates about the accident and your injury on your social media, don’t post anything. An insurance adjuster or attorney for the at-fault party could find your posts and potentially take them out of context to use against you to minimize or deny compensation for your injuries.
- Hire an attorney — An uninsured motorist accident lawyer can protect your rights and speed up the insurance claim process. That way, you get the money you need more quickly. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after a collision.
Statute of Limitations for West Virginia Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawsuits
According to the West Virginia Code, you have two years from the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit. This rule also applies to uninsured motorist accidents. You should speak to an attorney for an uninsured motorist accident as soon as possible to avoid any issues with the statute of limitations.
Contact Our Morgantown Uninsured Motorist Accident Attorneys Today
Uninsured motorist accidents are complicated and frustrating. But working with an experienced attorney can give you hope and reduce your frustration level. Let us help you pursue the compensation you need for an accident that was someone else’s fault. Contact Robinette Legal Group, PLLC now for a free consultation with a Morgantown lawyer for an uninsured motorist accident.