When a car accident injury occurs, and is serious, medical and repair/replacement costs can skyrocket—sometimes exceeding the car insurance limits. What now? If you don’t know what to do after a car accident here’s a 5 car accident checklist to guide you.
Car insurance is required by law yet uninsured drivers continue to drive unlawfully. Statistics tell us that there are about 30% of all drivers in Arizona operating cars without insurance 35 percent to 40 percent of drivers carrying only the minimum liability coverage which is currently $15,000 per person $30,000.00 total for all claims. When you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, he or she is still liable for the damages that result. If you are injured, your uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance on your car policy will cover your bodily injury damages when you are involved in an Arizona car accident. You need to know how much coverage you have on your policy for uninsured and underinsured coverage. The basic is usually $15,000 but if you have a higher policy of liability coverage you can request more. Remember this coverage is for you and your family and should be something you consider.
Recovering losses from a car accident
But what about medical costs that exceed that amount or other costs such a repair of your vehicle or replacement if your car is totaled?If a driver is underinsured or not insured at all, Bodily Injury Liability Insurance is what WOULD HAVE paid for your injuries because of the accident. Property Damage Liability Insurance is the coverage that WOULD HAVE paid for your automobile’s repair and any other property damages that occurred during the accident. These forms of coverage are required in Arizona but only to $15,000/$30,000 for bodily injury and $15,000 for property damage. That often is not enough. If you do not have uninsured or underinsured coverage and damage coverage for your vehicle, your only alternative option for high cost damages will be to seek relief from the driver deemed at-fault. Considering 1. you were just involved in an automobile accident that was not your fault: 2. you are injured and trying to recover: 3. you are unable to work: 4. you must find a way to replace or repair your vehicle, it can be overwhelming. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to navigate the at fault drivers insurance if any, your insurance if any and go after the assets of this driver to help you resume your health and life. Your attorney will be able to help you decide the best course of action to recover your costs.If the uninsured motorist does not have enough monetary assets to pay for the accident costs there are other ways to settle the debt:
●A court-order could force the uninsured motorist to liquidate assets
●Liens could be ordered against their property
●Judgments may be ordered that could include wage garnishments
Court or Claim
Your personal injury attorney will advise you on what strategy makes the most sense. He or she will size up the defendant’s ability to pay. Experienced attorneys know how to uncover any ‘hidden” wealth and sometimes an investigation is needed to determine the true assets of the defendant. Unfortunately, uninsured motorists generally do not have much money or many assets to help pay. Sadly, in many cases, returning to court to apply for a court order that will require the defendant pay you often is unsuccessful because you cannot take what someone does not have.
Choose an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Navigating the insurance and court systems after an accident can be confusing. It is even worse when the defendant is underinsured or uninsured. Trying to save money by going it alone can ultimately cost you big in lost awards. Call our office to learn more about how we can help you with your car accident injury case. West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman have years of experience in these matters and are available for consult.