The stress and chaos that follow a car accident only compound if the driver who hit you is uninsured or underinsured. In Ohio, drivers must either prove financial responsibility or have auto insurance before hitting the road.
However, as many as 15 percent of drivers break that law, according to the state of Ohio. If the person who hit you does not have coverage, or does not have enough, you have several legal options to secure a financial settlement.
Claim Against Your Own Insurance
An underinsured driver has coverage, but not enough to cover damages and injuries. If you chose to purchase optional uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), you can get additional funds under your own policy.
The amount you receive will depend on the liability limit of the underinsured driver, as the payments will come from that policy first.
Claim in Civil Court
According to Ohio law, the driver who caused your accident is financially responsible for medical costs, vehicle damage and other accident-related expenses.
If there is not enough insurance money available, you can take the driver to court. The driver’s assets may be seized and wages garnished to pay the settlement. There may be a payment plan arrangement over a period of time or a lump-sum payment.
Unfortunately, although the law is on your side, recovering money from an uninsured or underinsured motorist is often very difficult. Auto accident lawyers have significant practice in choosing the best legal course of action and pursuing it diligently.
Take Legal Action
As soon as possible after the accident, you should contact a lawyer. You have two years to file a legal claim to protect your interests. But it is in your best interest to act as quickly as possible, so no avenues of recovery are statute-barred.
If you do report the accident to your insurer, discuss your situation with a lawyer before signing any documents. You should also avoid speaking with the underinsured driver’s insurance company, as it may negatively affect how much money you receive under your own policy.
Car accident lawyers are trained to act in your best interest, both during insurance negotiations and in court. When dealing with the overlapping areas of insurance law, personal injury and litigation, you can often secure the best result with the advice of an uninsured motorist lawyer.
When you are recovering from injury, you may need significant funds to pay living expenses and medical costs. The lawyers at Friedman, Domiano & Smith can provide the representation you need to take care of yourself.
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