If you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you can hold the negligent driver liable for your damages. This is the legal theory underpinning most personal injury cases involving motor vehicle accidents.
This system can be a good way to compensate the injured for what they have lost and to hold the other party accountable after they have hurt someone through their negligence. However, there are other parties involved in most such cases: insurance companies. In most cases, a negligent driver’s insurance provider ends up paying the compensation for the injured party. This is, after all, one of the reasons drivers carry insurance.
Another reason, of course, is that insurance coverage is required under Pennsylvania law for all drivers. Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of drivers who carry insufficient insurance, or no insurance at all. A 2019 study by the Insurance Information Institute found that about 12.6% of drivers nationwide are uninsured.
So, if you can’t recover compensation from a driver’s insurance company, where can you get it? Theoretically, you should be able to get it directly from the negligent driver, but as the saying goes, you cannot get blood from a stone; if the driver can’t afford insurance, it’s unlikely that they can afford to compensate you for what you have lost.
Hopefully, your own health insurance can help you pay for all or most of your medical expenses. Your car insurance should also help with some of your costs. Collision and comprehensive insurance usually covers damage to your vehicle no matter who was at fault.
An optional add-on to many insurance policies is called uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This can help cover your costs if you have been injured by a driver who lacks the insurance coverage necessary to pay for your damages. This type of coverage can help pay for your medical expenses as well as property damage. uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can also help if you have been injured in a hit-and-run accident.
If you were not at fault for your accident, you may not have to pay a deductible, but this depends upon the specific details of your policy. That said, insurance companies have a financial incentive to avoid paying their policyholders all they deserve. It may be wise to discuss your situation with a professional who has experience in motor vehicle accident cases.