I never was one to think about things like “What would I do if I were hit by an uninsured driver?” That is, until I was hit by one. Then I had to think about it really quick, and during a relatively stressful time (the aftermath of a minor auto accident). I should have had a plan in place sooner. I’m glad that I wasn’t forced to come to this conclusion at a more critical time-as it was I was personally uninjured and have only a damaged (destroyed) bumper to contend with.
The bottom line is you have to be ready to be hit by an uninsured driver-not just mentally but financially as well. If you don’t have comprehensive insurance on your vehicle, you have to be prepared to pay for damages. It isn’t fair, but that is just the way it is. A lot of people get liability insurance only because they trust their own ability as drivers and feel confident that they will never be at fault in an accident. This may be true (though unlikely-everyone can make mistakes) but no one can be assured that they will not be hit by another driver-possibly one who doesn’t have insurance.
The most important thing to remember is to call the police. She talked me out of this one. “Please don’t call the police!” She begged, “I have a good job. I can pay you out of pocket!” She talked me into it (foolish of me, I know) largely because in my past experiences with minor accidents, waiting for the police seems to be an unproductive nuisance. Of course, this is when the responsible party has insurance. The two parties exchange insurance information and go about their ways. However, if you are hit by an uninsured motorist, and you don’t have a police report, you better hope that the person who hits you has a conscience and wants to do the right thing. Otherwise, you are pretty much up a creek without a paddle.
Another useful thing to have is a witness. I was fortunate enough after this last wreck to a kind stranger pull over and offer to be my witness. She told me that she had seen the accident, knew that it was the other driver’s fault, and gave me her name and contact information in case I needed someone to vouch for me. This is always a good card to have up your sleeve.
However, even with a police report and a witness, there in only so much that can be done. Depending on the state you are in, there are various legal actions that can be taken against the uninsured motorist (such as suspension of license until damages are paid, etc.) However, the fact remains that, if they don’t have the money, and they can’t earn it, you aren’t going to get it, and you will have to pay to fix your car yourself. It’s that simple. (I think it goes without saying that it is very important to make sure you have health insurance-if you are injured, you don’t want to be stuck paying your medical expenses out of pocket.)