Navigating the legal terms and actions following a car crash can be overwhelming. When you discover that the at-fault driver is under or uninsured, the situation can become more confusing as you attempt to recover from personal injuries or damages to your vehicle.
Car crashes in South Carolina are dealt with on a fault-based system. Once the police decide which driver is at fault, it's up to the driver's insurance provider or the faulted person to cover the expenses of the victim. Under normal circumstances, the victim of a car accident may not need to involve their own insurance provider as the at-fault driver is responsible for covering financial losses. However, if you're involved in a crash with an uninsured driver, the process differs.
Immediately following a crash, follow these steps:
Contact the police
Even if you don't think you're injured or the other driver offers to take care of the damage, you need to have an incident report complete. When you contact your insurance or the coverage provider of the other driver, they will want a copy of the report.
While the police will take the name and personal information of the other driver, this is a step you should try to complete on your own. Getting the driver's name, contact information, and vehicle details may be valuable information down the road. If witnesses to the crash are nearby, ask for their contact information as well.
Get medical attention
Although the pain may not be prominent at the time of the crash, accident victims often feel the most pain hours after the collision. Seek medical treatment to ensure you didn't suffer internal injuries.
If you discover the driver doesn't have car insurance, you have other options to help cover the costs associated with the crash.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
If you or a loved one in your vehicle is injured in the crash, it may be necessary to contact your own insurance company for recovery. Your insurance company will then seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver. This situation can put you in a financial bind as you'll traditionally need to cover your deductible out-of-pocket.
South Carolina law requires you to carry uninsured motorists coverage equal to the minimum amount of liability coverage. If you're injured or your property damaged by a driver who failed to gain coverage, the uninsured motorists coverage will pay for expenses up to a certain point. There is typically a $200 deductible with this type of coverage.
Underinsured motorists coverage is usually offered by your insurance company but is not a mandate in the state of South Carolina. Although your coverage plan will cover the cost of your medical expenses and vehicle repairs, you have the option to contact a personal injury lawyer to see if a lawsuit should be filed.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit for your Car Accident
If the underinsured or uninsured driver refuses to cover your medical or repair costs, a lawsuit may be a viable solution. Speak with a Charleston car accident lawyer to determine if going to court is the best route.