Most of us have been in a car accident or know someone who has been in a car accident, so we all know how frightening, stressful, and painful they can be. It’s only natural to feel panicked and shaken while your mind races and you wonder if anyone is hurt, if your car will survive the impact, and how difficult it will be to deal with the aftermath. The last thing you should have to worry about is insurance, but it’s extremely important that you keep yourself protected.
Your frustration and fear only get worse when you speak to the other driver and find out they aren’t insured. Now there’s a new problem to worry about: are you going to have to pay for all of this out of pocket? Take a deep breath, because that isn’t necessarily the case. We want to help you understand Oklahoma’s auto insurance laws so that you can be sure to do what’s necessary to stay protected.
If you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver, we know how difficult of a time this is for you. Contact Maples, Nix, and Diesselhorst today for a free consultation about how we might be able to stand with you and help you achieve the justice you deserve. However, before we address insurance and justice, let’s explore a few steps to take immediately after the crash occurs.
Right after an accident with an uninsured driver
No matter the state of anyone’s insurance, the first thing you should do after a collision is make sure everyone involved is okay. If someone is severely injured and needs medical attention, that always takes precedence over all else. Assuming nobody is injured, here are the best next steps:
- Call the police immediately – Uninsured drivers might try to tug at your heartstrings by begging you not to report an accident, but doing so could ruin your chances at a proper recourse. You should always call.
- Collect information – Obviously, an uninsured driver has no insurance information, but you should still collect their name and contact information. You should also take note of the cars make, model, and year. When a police officer shows up, you also might find it useful to take down their badge number.
- Take photos – You never know how your insurance provider might react to a situation, so protect yourself by taking photos of any damage you find, both of your car and the other. You should also take photos that show the position of the cars in case there is a dispute about who is at fault.
Once you’ve taken care of these basic steps, you can start thinking about insurance.
Oklahoma’s insurance laws
Oklahoma is an at-fault state for auto insurance coverage. This system requires the responsible driver’s insurance policy to pay for costs related to the victim’s injuries and their vehicle’s damage. In your case, it can save you from paying these expenses out of pocket. But this system can cause a headache if the at-fault motorist lacks coverage.
Protect yourself with a proper insurance plan
Oklahoma law requires insurance companies to offer drivers uninsured motorist coverage. Even if the situation never arises, this coverage is worth adding to your policy for the peace of mind it provides. We recommend that you also talk to your insurance agent about the benefits of choosing Medpay. They can explain the details available.
Uninsured motorist coverage will only cover expenses related to your injuries. If your vehicle is damaged, you will need collision insurance to receive compensation. Your basic liability coverage will not provide it, and the last thing we want is for you to not be covered when you thought you would be.
You’ll also be contractually obligated to notify your insurance company right away if you’re hit by an uninsured motorist. If you wait more than a month, you might waive your coverage away. At this stage, it’s helpful to partner with a knowledgeable team of lawyers like ours to ensure things are handled properly.
Uninsured vs underinsured driver
It isn’t just fully uninsured drivers that can cause problems for your coverage. While a completely uninsured driver is the worst case scenario, you might be hit by someone who only has the bare minimum insurance policy. In many cases, the damage caused by an underinsured driver far exceeds what their policy will pay out.
If an underinsured driver’s insurance payout isn’t enough for your medical and property damage, you might be able to bring a lawsuit against them to cover the rest. Just be aware that if that person doesn’t have the assets available to pay you, it could leave you with a settlement you can’t collect.
This situation is best avoided by investing in underinsured motorist coverage for your insurance plan. Be aware that there are some rules and loopholes that can be confusing, so be sure to discuss this coverage with your insurance agent. If you are in a situation where you need an experienced team of auto accident lawyers like ours, we can help you through the claims process.
Even if you have the right policies, your insurance policy may not provide adequate coverage for your injuries. If this happens, you will want to pursue one of two options. First, you can counteroffer your insurance company’s figure. This process can continue until you reach a fair settlement, but it doesn’t always end in your favor, especially if you don’t know the ins and outs of your policy.
If you cannot reach an agreement with your insurance company, you can also pursue a civil lawsuit against the motorist who hit you. Once again, though, remember that their lack of insurance may indicate a lack of means. You could end up waiting for an award that will never arrive, even if a court rules in your favor.
Taking the next steps
No matter what insurance policy you have, if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, your first step should be to speak to a lawyer or law firm that will treat you with the respect, compassion, and dignity you deserve during such a scary time. The Maples, Nix, and Diesselhorst team can help you fully understand your policy and know what coverage applies. This can make the difference between being able to cover your medical, time lost, and property damage, and being left high and dry.
Maples, Nix, and Diesselhorst will stand with you
Have you been hit by an uninsured driver or underinsured driver? You’re going through a lot right now, but you don’t have to do it alone. While you take the time you need to recover, we can investigate your potential case. If we decide to work together, we’ll make three promises to you: we’ll always be honest, transparent, and work hard to achieve positive results for you. Contact us today for a free consultation about how we might be able to stand with you and help you achieve the justice you deserve.