Even though Louisiana laws require every driver to have minimum liability insurance coverage to register and operate a vehicle in Louisiana, some drivers choose to drive uninsured. Drivers are required by law to have liability insurance in the following amounts:
- $15,000 for the bodily injury or death to one person
- $25,000 for property damage to the other person’s vehicle
- $30,000 for the bodily injury or death to more than one person
In an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company compensates the other accident victims for their losses. Unfortunately, when an uninsured driver causes an accident, he or she rarely has sufficient assets to compensate the other parties for their injuries. Where does that leave the injured victims? What can they do if the driver who caused the accident does not have insurance?
How to Handle a Car Accident with a Driver Who Has No Insurance
The initial steps that you take following an accident with a driver who has no insurance are the same as in any automobile accident.
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries
- Contact the police and wait at the scene for the officer to complete an accident report
- Get as much information from the other driver as possible (i.e. name, contact information, description of vehicle, license tag number, etc.)
- Get the names and contact information from any witnesses
- Take pictures of the accident scene
- Contact an accident attorney
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Obtain estimates for repairs to your vehicle
- Continue medical treatment for your injuries
- Keep all receipts, invoices, statements, and other evidence of your losses
In a typical automobile accident, the insurance company for the other driver would contact you regarding your claim. We would advise that you do not discuss the claim with the insurance adjuster until you have discussed the accident with a personal injury attorney. It is never wise to provide a written or recorded statement to the insurance company or sign any releases prior to meeting with an attorney. The same applies in the case of an uninsured motorist claim.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can file a claim against your own insurance if you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, and your insurance company cannot use an uninsured motorist claim as a reason to increase your monthly premiums. Louisiana insurance laws require that every automobile insurance policy include uninsured motorist coverage. You can deny coverage by signing a waiver; however, the insurance is usually inexpensive for the coverage you receive.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays your damages if you are involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured driver. Your insurance company compensates you for your medical expense, lost wages, physical pain, and emotional suffering as if the company was covering the other driver.
Do I Need an Attorney if I Am Working with My Own Insurance Company?
We recommend that you consult with an attorney before providing statements or signing releases, even with your own insurance company. Even though this company provides your insurance and you assume it is working for you, it is not. Your claim will be treated as any other automobile accident claim — the company will try to pay the least amount possible to settle your claim.
We encourage you to take advantage of our free consultation to get answers to your questions about uninsured motorist claims. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.