What Can I Do If I am Hit by an Uninsured Motorist in Washington State?
Being badly injured in an a car crash could result in tens of thousands of dollars in medical care and lost wages. You need to seek compensation from the driver who caused the collision, rather than carry the financial loss yourself.
All motorists in Washington State are required by law to carry minimum liability insurance of at least $50,000 per accident, $25,000 in bodily injury liability and $10,000 in property damage. There are, unfortunately, too many people on the road without any insurance at all.
What are your options if the other driver is uninsured?
Option 1: Your Personal Injury Protection Benefits
Various losses are covered by Personal Injury Protection, which is a no-fault insurance. This means you would be covered even if you were responsible for the accident. Some of these losses include:
- Medical and hospital costs up to $10,000 (you can purchase more)
- Lost wages at $200 a week up to $10,000 in total (you can purchase more)
- Funeral expenses up to $2,000
Check if you have Personal Injury Protection benefits. Your insurer had to offer it to you, though you could decline. A relative in your household may have it and you could be covered under their policy.
Option 2: Claim on Your Uninsured Motorist Policy
If the driver who caused the accident you were injured in, does not have any insurance then Uninsured Motorist insurance is specifically intended for this situation. Insurers must offer you Uninsured Motorist coverage under Washington law, which you could refuse in writing. Hopefully you didn’t refuse the policy because you will be covered in this type of accident, and you will be able to make a claim for your medical care expenses and lost wages.
Keep in mind that Uninsured Motorist coverage only comes into effect if another motorist is the cause of the accident.
Option 3: Pay for Medical Expenses with Your Health Insurance
If you have health insurance, either through a job, or a policy you bought, you should check whether your health insurance will pay for medical care if you are injured. Though health insurance cannot replace lost income, and you may have high copayments, it can at least reduce some of the health care costs of a live changing car crash.
Option 4: Collision Coverage
Repairs to your collision-damaged vehicle can be claimed from Collision Coverage Insurance. Your lender may have required you to buy Collision Coverage if you took out a car loan.
Option 5: Sue the Driver
The driver is legally liable for the damage caused by his or her negligence even if he does not have insurance. This means you can sue him and try to recover a jury verdict from his personal assets. There are, unfortunately, not many drivers who have sufficient assets to compensate you for your injuries. Frankly, they would most likely have bought liability insurance if they did.
Do not give up hope, even if you have been hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. There are options available for you. Cunnane Law serves clients all over the north Puget Sound area. We will identify the best way forward for our clients after a car crash which will allow them to recover as much as possible. Don’t delay, contact Cunnane Law today.