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Steps to take after a car accident with an uninsured driver

It's nearly impossible to live without the utility that a car provides. Driving to work, driving to the grocery store, driving to get your kids, driving to see your friends; not having access to a vehicle would make daily life a struggle. Unfortunately, if you drive, odds are you'll get into at least a fender bender at some point.

A simple exchange of information, calls to insurance companies and maybe a tow to the autobody shop are often the norm after an accident. What happens if you're in an accident and the other driver is uninsured, though? Do you receive nothing? Do they get away free? Do you need to go to court? It's a stressful time wrought with questions.

After the accident

After an accident with an uninsured motorist, one of the most important things you can do is keep them at the scene. You will no doubt be shaken up by the incident; they will be doubly so, knowing that they don't have insurance, and will most likely be primed to leave.

Talk to the other motorist, ask them questions, get their information, take photographs of their license plate, their vehicle, their ID and the accident scene. The more evidence you have the better.

While you're gathering information, also be sure to call the police so you may give a comprehensive report - make it as thorough as you can.

It is extremely important to have a crash report on record with law enforcement. Giving a detailed account of the accident can be invaluable in possible future court proceedings or insurance claims. Virginia offers several ways to submit a report, including by mail, but giving your report directly to an officer while the details are still fresh in your mind is often the best course of action.

Repercussions of an uninsured driver

If the other motorist has no insurance period, then odds are that the next step for you is to rely on your own insurance company. Fortunately, in Virginia underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is required on all auto insurance policies. Depending on your policy, you may have enough coverage to take care of your own medical or auto repair bills.

If you are considering a lawsuit, remember that Virginia is also a no-fault car insurance state. This means that a lawsuit against the other driver will most likely not be an option unless you have suffered serious injuries.

Penalties for the other driver

Virginia is unique for the fact that it does not require drivers to have auto insurance. Our state does, however, require that drivers have a way to pay for damage caused by an accident. Motorists have the choice of either paying for standard insurance or paying the DMV a fee to drive uninsured.

If a motorist is caught without either (by the police you've called to give your crash report to, for example), they will be required to pay a $500 fine to cover the DMV fee, may potentially lose their license, registration and license plates, and may face conviction of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Keep yourself safe on the roadways. Getting into an auto accident is a shaking experience no one wants to be a part of. Finding out that the other motorist is uninsured only adds to the confusion, stress and time investment. Try to keep your wits about you, and follow your game plan.

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Law Office of Scott N. Kazem, PLC
116-C Edwards Ferry Road
Leesburg, VA 20176

Phone: 571-252-8315
Fax: 571-918-0418
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