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What Happens in an Uninsured Motorist in an Accident?

Posted in on September 7, 2016

As many as one out of every eight drivers [1] on the roads in Colorado drives without car insurance. Even though Colorado law requires all drivers to carry minimum amounts of insurance, many drivers risk taking to the streets without insurance. If you’re hit by a driver without insurance, your accident becomes more complicated.

What do you do when you’re hit by a driver without insurance? What are your options if an uninsured driver hits you? What is uninsured motorist insurance? Let our car accident attorneys help you understand what to do when you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver.

What Happens If You Are in an Accident With an Uninsured Driver?

If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, both parties are still responsible for complying with laws regarding accidents. These laws require you to call the police and exchange information with the other driver. When both drivers have insurance, you typically look to the insurance of the at-fault driver to pay for the damages.

However, when the responsible driver doesn’t have insurance, you have to look at your own insurance to see if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage that pays for your damages. You can also bring a claim for monetary compensation directly against the responsible driver.

What Do I Do If I Get Hit by Someone Without Insurance?

If you get hit by someone without insurance, call the police right away. You need the police to document and investigate the accident. You also need them to verify that the other driver doesn’t have insurance. Get license and contact information for the other driver. Don’t accept any cash offers or any other kind of agreement not to report the accident.

Make a report to your own insurance. Review your insurance coverage to determine if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Consider your options to recover from your own insurance or make a claim directly against the other driver.

Does Colorado Require Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

No, Colorado does not require uninsured motorist coverage. Drivers in the State of Colorado do not have to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. However, insurance companies in the state have to offer uninsured motorist coverage to drivers who purchase the required amounts of car insurance.

Because Colorado doesn’t require uninsured motorist coverage, drivers may accept or decline coverage for accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers.

How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work in Colorado?

rear end car accident
Uninsured motorist coverage works in Colorado by providing coverage when the accident is the fault of a driver without insurance. Ordinarily, in Colorado, it’s the insurance company of the driver at fault for the crash that pays for the damages.

However, when an uninsured driver hits you, you don’t have the option to make a claim to the driver’s insurance company. Uninsured motorist coverage works by allowing you to apply directly to your own insurance company to pay you when the other driver doesn’t have sufficient coverage.

Is an Uninsured Driver Automatically at Fault?

No, an uninsured driver is not automatically at fault for an accident. The same rules for apportioning fault still apply to the accident. If the insured driver is the one determined to be at fault for an accident, they may still be liable to pay for damages.

However, the uninsured driver may receive a citation for failing to have the required insurance. Even though they may be held accountable for not having required insurance, an uninsured driver is not automatically at fault for an accident.

Tips for an Accident With an Uninsured Driver in Colorado

The basic rule is that Colorado is an at-fault state for car accidents. With all car accidents in the State of Colorado, even minor ones, the driver who is responsible for the accident pays for the damages. They almost always pay using their insurance coverage. However, when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, recovering from them isn’t going to be an option.

When you realize that the other driver doesn’t have insurance, the first step is to look at your own insurance policy. At the time you purchase your insurance policy, you have the option to get something called uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is exactly what it sounds like – it’s insurance that pays you directly when the party responsible for the accident doesn’t have insurance. It also applies when the other party doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for all of your damages.

If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it’s a welcome relief in the case of an accident with a driver without insurance. You report the accident to your own insurance company. Along with making the report, you tell the insurance company that the other driver doesn’t have insurance. Your insurance company verifies the information. They pay you directly for your damages up to the limits of your insurance policy. In cases where the other driver’s insurance policy limits cover only a part of your damages, your underinsured motorist coverage pays you the difference between the other driver’s policy limits and your total damages.

When you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, there’s still a chance that you can recover directly from the responsible driver. They’re still at fault for the accident. You can bring a claim naming them personally to recover compensation from your personal assets. In most cases, if a driver doesn’t have the required car insurance, they’re not going to have significant assets. However, you should know that a personal claim is still a possibility to recover the compensation that you deserve from an uninsured driver. This can be a viable option when a driver who has significant personal assets simply didn’t buy enough car insurance to cover your damages.

Contact Our Attorneys for Accidents With an Uninsured Driver

Have you been in an accident with an uninsured driver? That can be a frustrating experience. Our attorneys have experience handling accident claims where a driver is uninsured. We can help you explore all of your options to get the compensation that you deserve. Let our attorneys manage the tedious details so that you can get justice after your car accident. We offer aggressive legal representation for car accident victims. Call us today for your free consultation.

Sources

[1] Insurance Information Institute. Facts + Statistics: Uninsured motorists. Retrieved 02 October 2019 from https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists

Kyle Bachus

Kyle opened Bachus & Schanker, with little more than a tiny, rented office and a lot of determination. Starting with less than $15,000, their business has grown into one of the largest, most well respected personal injury firms in the Colorado region. Kyle and his partner Darin Schanker are committed to understanding the circumstances confronting their clients, and ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable for damages they have caused.

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Super Lawyers - Kyle Bachus
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
Super Lawyers - Darin Schanker
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyer
5280 Top Lawyers of Denver