What if You’re Hit by an Uninsured Motorist?
Steps to Take Before and After an Accident
Here in Montana we are considered an “at-fault” state. This means that if you are involved in an accident, whoever is “at-fault” has to pay for the damages to the other person’s vehicle. Generally speaking, the at-fault driver will have insurance to cover the costs.
But what happens if you’re hit by a driver that doesn’t have proper insurance? Here in Montana it’s estimated that about 10% of drivers are driving illegally without insurance; in Billings that number is slightly higher. If you get hit by them, there are a few things that you can do in order to prevent a big loss on your part.
Proactive Measures Against Uninsured Motorists
The best way to deal with an uninsured motorist is to protect yourself. In the next section we will discuss what you should do if you’ve already been hit.
On your vehicle’s insurance policy, you probably notice a line about uninsured motorists. This can end up thinking that you’re covered if you get hit, however, the details of the policy usually say something about how only your medical bills will be covered; the damage to your vehicle is not. There are ways to cover your vehicle as well.
Many insurance companies will sell what is called uninsured motorist property damage coverage. This add-on is in addition to your policy, it usually isn’t that expensive, and it will cover the damages to your vehicle if you’re hit by an uninsured motorist (or underinsured motorist). Part of that clause generally negates any possibility of a lawsuit; essentially your insurance company pays you, and then they go after the at-fault individual to recoup their losses.
But most people don’t have this type of coverage. They don’t think about needing it until after they have been hit.
Reactive Measures Against Uninsured Motorists
If you have been hit by an uninsured motorist, and you don’t have the add-on coverage to protect yourself, you really only have one option. Aside from the at-fault driver doing the right thing and paying you for the damages, you will likely have to find an attorney and sue the individual.
There’s one problem though. If the at-fault driver can’t afford car insurance, then he or she most likely has no assets and won’t be able to pay the settlement on the lawsuit. There are some legal ways that the attorney can work out in order to garnish wages, but in all likelihood if you do receive compensation, it will be nowhere near enough to cover the extent of your damages.
Bring Damaged Vehicles to Big Sky Collision Center
Whether your insurance is covering the costs, the at-fault driver’s insurance, or if you have to pay out-of-pocket for someone else’s mistake, we will fix your vehicle the right way. We have more certifications than anyone else in Billings, and that means you get the absolute best repair done.
As the best auto body shop in Billings, we make sure that you’re treated right. But before you need us, ask your insurance agent about uninsured motorist property damage coverage. It will save a whole lot of headaches if you’re hit.