Uninsured Drivers Becoming More Than a Nuisance

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that an estimated 14% of drivers nationally are uninsured. This lingering fact has plagued the states for many years. All states mandate some form of auto insurance and have for years, yet state officials and insurance companies are beginning to express concerns that more must be done to remediate this problem. Sadly, uninsured drivers cause insurance rates to increase for everyone else.

More and more states have been trying out informational databases which can effectively identify drivers who are uninsured. Others are experimenting with taking away the license plates of uninsured drivers when they are discovered. Some have even discussed reducing an uninsured motorist’s ability to sue for damages after an accident. This auto insurance crackdown could mean lower rates for those who do obey the law.

Oklahoma is one example of a state that is pioneering new ways to tackle uninsured motorists. The state recently passed a bill that allows Oklahoma state troopers to take away the license plates of drivers without insurance. The only way the driver can get their license plate back is to obtain car insurance and provide proof of insurance to a local sheriff’s department in addition to some fees.

Missouri is another state, one of just ten, which has adopted a law that says uninsured motorists can’t sue for pain and suffering damages when they are the victims of an accident caused by an insured driver. There are exceptions to this “no pay, no play” law, but they are few.

The ramifications of being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver/vehicle are numerous. First, if your vehicle does not have collision insurance, one would normally look to the offending other vehicle in the crash. If the other vehicle is uninsured, there is no financial recourse or company to pay for your vehicles’ property damage.

Even more disturbing would be when you are injured by a driver with no car insurance. Fortunately, there exists a type of insurance called “underinsured motorist protection” on your own vehicle (if, of course, you have valid car insurance).

Uninsured Motorist benefits are sought by filing a claim with your own car insurance company. Even if you were in an accident with an uninsured car, you can make a claim against your own car insurance which essentially, “stands in the shoes” of the uninsured vehicle. As long as you or your attorney can prove that the vehicle which caused your injuries did not have valid insurance on the accident date, the uninsured motorist insurance policy should apply.

As this process is complicated, you may want to consider talking to an attorney to discuss your case and learn more about your rights and possible options. If you have been injured by a stolen vehicle, contact The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried, P.C. at (718) 509-6520.