When there is an accident, people may get traumatized due to the impact of their injuries. They can have long-term consequences, and their lives will never be as it was before.
If the accident that you were injured in was caused by a negligent driver, it is supposed that the driver's insurance company is the one who will pay for your economic and noneconomic damages.
But what happens when you find out that the negligent driver does not have car insurance to back them up and pay for your damages? That is a common question we receive as Bronx uninsured driver accident lawyers.
We understand your concern; you might think you will end up paying for your damages and get into enormous debt. However, that is not necessarily true. With the help of a committed Bronx uninsured accident lawyer, you still have some options.
Remember that each case is different; we need to check the facts and see what steps to follow to bring justice to you.
Keep reading to discover what to do when involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver in the Bronx, New York.
What Does It Mean When A Driver Is Uninsured?
A driver is uninsured when they do not have an active insurance policy to cover their vehicle. The driver is prone to be personally responsible for all the costs associated with the accident, including repairs to their and the other party's vehicle and any medical expenses.
Driving without insurance is illegal in the Bronx, NY. If a police officer catches a driver without insurance can result in penalties and fines.
Statistics back in 2021 determined that 1 in 8 motorists in the United States do not have auto insurance. That is around 12.6% of the national fleet. Over 500 thousand drivers in New York are estimated to be driving without insurance.
Those are high numbers, even in this state that is considered to have the lowest rate of uninsured drivers in the country with a 5.3%.
Many people live under the pressure of day to day, with massive debt in this implacable economy that we are living in 2023. Many drivers that fail to pay their insurance pose a threat too.
It is not the same as being uninsured or having expired insurance, or the driver failing to pay their bill.
An expired policy means the coverage period for which the policy was purchased has ended. If an accident or incident occurs after the policy has expired, the insurance company is not obligated to provide coverage or financial assistance.
If the policyholder hasn't paid their insurance premiums, the insurance company might send them a grace period during which the policy remains active even if the payment is late. If the premium remains unpaid beyond the grace period, the procedure can be canceled, and coverage will cease.
So they might not be inside the statistics of uninsured drivers; however, in practice, they don't have any backup if they are at fault in a car accident, and the accident is taken as an uninsured accident in the Bronx.
Legal Implications in the Bronx and New York
Every driver, by law, needs to carry auto insurance with basic coverage. These coverages are:
The No-Fault (Personal Injury Protection)
This coverage provides compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and reasonable and necessary costs incurred by a driver, passenger, or pedestrian injured by the insured car.
In a car accident, their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage can assist in covering their expenses and losses, including medical and healthcare costs, lost income, and specific reasonable and essential expenses linked to sustained injuries.
This coverage is applicable up to a limit of $50,000 on his basic premium.
Understanding New York's No-Fault law is crucial. Lawsuits arising from auto accidents are permissible only for economic damages that surpass No-Fault benefits. Noneconomic damages can only be pursued if the injury sustained is classified as severe.
The following criteria define a severe injury:
- Loss of a body part
- Notable disfigurement
- Fetal loss
- Permanent loss or impairment of a limb or organ
- Any damage leading to a minimum of 90 days' impairment in performing daily activities
It's important to note that this PIP coverage exclusively caters to personal injury expenses. It does not cover vehicle repair or property damage to third parties.
Furthermore, this personal injury protection takes precedence over health insurance. It is the primary coverage in situations where injuries result from an auto accident.
There are circumstances in which this PIP coverage does not apply:
- It excludes coverage for accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or impairing drugs unless emergency healthcare services are provided in a general hospital or by an ambulance worker outside a hospital.
- Injuries intentionally caused by the insured are not covered.
- Coverage is not extended to injuries sustained while operating or riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or motorcycle.
- Injuries incurred during the commission of a felony are not covered.
- Injuries sustained while in a stolen vehicle are not covered.
- Coverage is also not provided if the injured individual owns an uninsured vehicle.
The Liability Insurance-Bodily Injury & Property Damage
This coverage protects the insured person and any authorized drivers of their car in case of accusations of carelessness or fault. It ensures that they are covered if someone accuses them of being at fault while driving.
This coverage also applies if someone accuses them of being careless while driving. It extends its protection to anyone who is authorized to drive their car.
The New York Vehicle and Traffic Law mandates the following minimum limits for third-party bodily injury liability coverage:
- $25,000 for bodily injury (excluding fatal injuries) sustained by a single individual in a single accident, or $50,000 for any injuries leading to death suffered by a single individual in a single accident.
- $50,000 for bodily injury (excluding fatal injuries) sustained by two or more individuals in a single accident or $100,000 for any damages leading to death sustained by two or more individuals in a single accident (subject to the per-person limits mentioned above).
Furthermore, the minimum coverage required by law for protecting against property damage liability, which encompasses damage to another party's vehicle or property, is set at $10,000 per accident.
These minimum liability thresholds in New York are commonly referred to as "25/50/10" or "$25,000/$50,000/$10,000".
The Uninsured Motorists
We understand that this coverage extends supplementary protection to the policyholder, members of their household's family, and anyone accompanying them in the vehicle.
It guarantees that you have sufficient coverage if they experience injuries due to the irresponsible actions of an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run occurrence.
This insurance also offers coverage in scenarios where they are engaged in a car accident while being a pedestrian.
Additionally, if you don't possess a car but a household member does, and they have this insurance, you can initiate a claim under that particular policy.
Steps To Take Immediately After A Bronx Uninsured Motorist Accident
If you've been involved in an accident in The Bronx and discovered that the other driver is uninsured, following the steps to protect your interests and ensure a smoother claims process is crucial.
While facing such a situation can be stressful, knowing what actions to take can make a significant difference in safeguarding your rights and potential compensation.
1. Ensure Safety First: Regardless of insurance status, prioritize safety. Check for injuries and call for medical assistance if needed. Move your vehicle out of traffic if possible to prevent further accidents.
2. Gather Information: Even if the other driver is uninsured, gather essential information. Record their name, contact details, and license plate number. Also, collect witness information if there were any bystanders.
3. Document the Scene: Take pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damages, and any visible injuries. These visuals can be valuable when building your case.
4. Notify Authorities: If there are injuries or significant property damage, contact the police. A police report can provide an official account of the accident.
5. Consult an Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyer: It's advisable to consult a Bronx uninsured motorist accident lawyer. They can guide you through legal complexities and protect your rights.
6. Contact Your Insurance Company: Reach out to your insurance company to report the accident. Even if the other driver is uninsured, your policy covers such situations.
7. Avoid Statements: While speaking to the other driver, avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be used against you later.
8. Medical Attention: Even if injuries seem minor, seek medical attention. Some injuries might manifest later, and medical records can prove your claim.
9. Document Expenses: Keep track of medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and any other expenses related to the accident. These records can help calculate your compensation.
10. File a Lawsuit if Necessary: If negotiations fail, your attorney might advise you to file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver. An experienced lawyer can guide you through this process.
Contact A Bronx Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyer
You may think everything is getting worse once you find out the other driver is uninsured. Relax; you still have some options to help you. Indeed, these cases are not accessible.
They can get complicated. However, an experienced Bronx uninsured lawyer has the tools and expertise to overcome any legal issue. The Ward Law Group P.L. has been honored to have highly trained lawyers on its team that have helped thousands of families to be compensated for their losses in traffic accidents.
We want to give you our friendly hand, and with our support, you will receive fair compensation for your losses. Contact us for a free consultation of your case at 855-DOLOR-55, and one of our lawyers will answer any questions.