The prospect of being injured in an auto accident where the other driver doesn't have insurance can leave you wondering how the medical bills and other expenses might be paid. It's important to understand the different scenarios, so here are three situations a car accident lawyer will tell you to be prepared to deal with.
1. Get No-Fault Insurance
Many states use what's called a no-fault insurance system. Notably, this approach only applies if there are no catastrophic injuries in the case. Otherwise, you may end up handling the problems that arise by following tips from one or two of the other scenarios presented here.
The no-fault scenario will boil down to you working exclusively with your insurance company. Your insurer will then have to figure out how to get money out of the at-fault driver.
That often means the insurance company will eat the loss, but they do have the right to go to court against the at-fault driver. If the matter goes far into the legal system, your auto insurance carrier may ask you to provide a deposition or testimony. Largely, though, the case becomes your insurer's problem.
2. Consider Paying with Your Medical Insurance
Arguably, this is more of a partial scenario. Basically, your medical insurance provider covers things like hospital bills, therapy, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. Some folks will end up only dealing with their medical insurance carrier because the at-fault driver might be so broke that they're essentially judgment-proof, meaning they don't even have any assets worth taking. In fact, they probably lost their most valuable asset when they wrecked their vehicle.
Notably, if you do sue the other driver, your medical insurance company will have some claim on any settlement or judgment you might reach. They will place a lien against the compensation in order to cover their costs.
3. Sue the Other Driver
Depending on the circumstances, you may choose to sue the other driver. You can hire a car accident attorney and provide the driver with notice of your intent to sue. In rare cases, settlements are reached. More often, though, these cases end up in court.
Presuming you prevail and a judgment is entered against the other motorist, the court will order them to pay. They might have the money to do so, but it's more likely that the judge will place a lien on their assets and a garnishment order against their wages. It may take years to be compensated by this route.
If you were in an accident and wonder if you have a case, contact a local car accident attorney.