Suffering an injury in a car accident that wasn’t your fault is bad enough, but it becomes even more frustrating and raises more concerns if the at-fault driver isn’t insured. Fortunately, you might still have options for covering your accident-related expenses.

Please don’t hesitate to speak with a lawyer with Carner & DeVita as soon as possible. We’ll listen to the details of your situation, will outline your legal options, and will work to help you get every dollar you deserve. Call us at (631) 543-7070 to schedule a free consultation.

Mandatory and optional auto insurance coverage

New York requires that all drivers have liability, uninsured motorist, and “no-fault” coverage of at least the following amounts:

  • $10,000 for property damage for a single accident
  • $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident

Uninsured motorist coverage

This coverage provides protection for you or the passengers of your car if you’re injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver or vehicle, or if the driver flees the scene and can’t be identified. This only provides coverage for injuries and bodily damages, not damage to your car or other property.

Like with the other coverages, you can purchase additional uninsured motorist coverage to increase your limits which can have significant benefits in the event of an accident.

Penalties for driving without insurance

The penalties for driving without car insurance in New York are stiff.  Uninsured motorists can have their license and vehicle registration revoked for at least one year. The traffic court fines could be up to $1,500, and you could pay the DMV a civil penalty of $750 to get your license back after revocation. If you’re convicted of driving without insurance, you could also face up to 15 days in jail.

Seeking compensation from the at-fault driver

When the at-fault driver is insured

If the accident was caused by an insured driver, you’ll file a claim with your insurance provider and one should also be reported to the at-fault driver’s insurer. However, it’s highly recommended that a Long Island car accident lawyer assist you with filing the claim with both insurers to avoid accidentally saying something that could hinder your case.

For example, the insurer might ask you about your injuries, but it’s common for symptoms of some injuries to be masked for hours, days, or even weeks after an accident. If you haven’t yet received medical treatment or the symptoms are only just beginning to start, you might accidentally understate your injuries which could be detrimental to collecting the compensation you deserve.

Your attorney will ensure that your interests are protected while filing your claim or lawsuit in order to help you collect the compensation to which you’re entitled.

Filing a claim against an uninsured or underinsured driver

So long as you have sufficient coverage through your policy, filing a claim for an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM) isn’t much different than when they’re insured. However, the application of your coverage is different.

You’ll still report the accident to the police and file a claim through your insurance company (preferably with the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney). If the driver doesn’t have insurance, then the only claim will be filed with your insurer and your uninsured motorist coverage policy limits will be used to cover the losses of the accident.

If the driver has insurance but you later learn that their coverage limits aren’t sufficient to cover the injuries and losses of the accident, then your UM coverage will be used. However, your UM coverage will be reduced by the bodily injury coverage of the at-fault driver’s policy.

Here are examples of how UM coverage can be used:

  1. If you have $25,000 in UM coverage and the driver is uninsured, then you’ll have $25,000 in coverage for bodily injury.
  2. If you have $25,000 in UM coverage and the driver’s bodily injury limit is $25,000, then you’ll be limited to the driver’s policy limit.
  3. If you have $100,000 in UM coverage and the driver has $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, then your UM policy will pay up to $75,000 for your injuries after the $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s policy has been used.

Understanding your insurance coverage and how it’ll be applied following an accident can be confusing, especially while you’re dealing with your injuries. You should contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Carner & DeVita as soon as you can following your accident to increase your chances of recovering damages.

In a crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver? Speak with Carner & DeVita as soon as you can.

The best way to fully understand your legal options following a car accident is to contact an experienced will be to get in touch with an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer right away.

Call (631) 543-7070 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you.