Indiana uses a standard fault system for motor vehicle accidents, meaning the person who failed to obey traffic laws or look out for other motorists is responsible for the damages they cause. Ideally, every driver would have car insurance to meet their obligation to look out for others. But many people still drive without insurance.
So what happens if you have the misfortune to be involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist? You have some options for seeking financial restitution. These options include:
- Suing the negligent party for damages
- Filing for MedPay if you chose this coverage on your personal auto policy
- Filing for uninsured motorists coverage if you added this to your personal auto insurance policy
We’ll provide more details on each of these options to provide an outline for avoiding paying the full financial burden after an accident with an uninsured motorist.
Suing the Negligent Party for Damages
After an accident, you can sue the negligent party for the damages they caused, including property damage, medical bills, and missed work.
This can be challenging though because it often involves wage garnishments, which means you won’t get your money fast. Those without insurance rarely have money in a savings account to pay expenses. But they might have assets that the courts can require them to liquidate to pay for the damage they caused.
The process for this type of lawsuit can be time-consuming and would require that you hire an attorney to help you through the court proceeding.
Filing for MedPay
MedPay is not a required insurance coverage option for Indiana drivers. However, if you opted for this insurance coverage, you’ll have coverage for medical expenses after a car accident.
The coverage provides medical expense payments for the insured and any other drivers on the policy as well as their passengers. It is a low-cost coverage and can be useful in combination with health insurance to aid in covering co-pays or other out-of-pocket medical expenses.
However, you cannot retroactively add MedPay to your auto insurance to cover you after a collision with an uninsured motorist. You’ll need this coverage before the collision.
File a Claim Against Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Much like MedPay, uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Indiana, which means you may or may not have it on your policy. Most insurance agents will add the coverage to your policy, but you can reject the coverage in writing if you prefer to not pay for it.
However, if you do have it on your policy, this is the perfect use case for it. Your coverage will be no less than $25,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person for up to $50,000 per event. You’ll also get no less than $25,000 in property damage insurance. For actual coverage limits, talk to your insurance agent or insurance company for more details.
You can also use this coverage if you get into an accident with a person who has limited insurance coverage. If, for example, you’re driving a new car that’s worth $50,000 that gets totaled and the other driver has the minimum $25,000 in property damage coverage, your additional underinsured motorist coverage could make up the difference.
Approximately 15.8 percent of all drivers on the road in Indiana have no car insurance coverage, meaning you have a 1 in 6 chance of being in a collision with an uninsured driver. While it isn’t the worst state for uninsured drivers, it does rank 15th in the country.
Connect With Our Office for Auto Claims Assistance
If you’re unsure how to handle an accident with an uninsured motorist, contact Stewart & Stewart. We offer a free consultation to guide you in handling these situations along with many other common personal injury types.