Washington law requires that each driver carry liability insurance while benefiting from the roads throughout the state. Obviously, the purpose of this statute is to protect you and your loved ones from the negligent driving of those around. What happens, though, if you’re involved in a car accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance? This leaves victim drivers in a bad position without too many great options.
The first action you should always take is to contact your own insurance company. While not mandatory in Washington, many drivers purchase uninsured motorist protection benefits. This UM policy acts as a floating layer of coverage that protects you in the event of an uninsured auto collision or if the at-fault driver has insufficient liability limits compared to your damages. Contacting your auto insurance company will allow the insurance adjusters working for you to begin an investigation into the potential remedies. Perhaps there is some layer of hidden coverage you might be able to access. It’s in your insurance company’s best interest to help find that because it saves the insurer money, as well. Moreover, it allows your insurance company to begin their own investigation so they are not prejudiced by delays, which could have disastrous, coverage ending ramifications down the line.
You can also consider personal liability against the at-fault driver even if they do not have insurance coverage. Unfortunately, you can’t get blood from a stone. So, if the at-fault driver has few assets or savings of their own, this remedy won’t work effectively. On occasion, though, at-fault drivers may have made a mistake by unintentionally dropping insurance coverage despite having substantial assets. While certainly less appealing, it is possible to go after the individual driver without involving any liability insurance.
Washington has also enacted additional penalties for driving without insurance. While these penalties won’t help you, taking these steps will ensure that the uninsured driver is sanctioned for their poor behavior. By reporting these incidents, the other driver may have their license suspended and they can be fined until payment is made for certain damages. While not a perfect solution, it does provide leverage to collect money from at-fault driver’s directly.
Finally, whenever you’re in a motor vehicle collision, you should contact a qualified personal injury attorney. The experienced litigators at Magnuson Lowell PS have the necessary skill to help you investigate your claims and collect from all available sources. Call Magnuson Lowell PS at (425)885-7500 today for a free case evaluation.