You are in a car accident. You exchange information with the other driver, you get medical treatment that you expect the other driver's insurance company to pay for, and at the end of the case, assuming the other driver was insured, you are entitled to a monetary recovery for the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering you endured. If the driver that hit your vehicle did not have insurance, then you should look to your own car insurance for protection. Assuming you paid for the uninsured motorist coverage to be added to your policy (you should have, it is cheap), then you can make a claim against your own insurance company for the damage to your vehicle as well as the injuries suffered by you in the accident.
But what if you weren't driving? What if you were simply crossing the street and a driver without insurance hit you. What if you were on a bicycle? In those situations, many potential clients think that they only have one option: a case against the defendant driver and his or her personal assets. However, if someone does not have insurance, they are unlikely to have any assets for you to satisfy a judgment for your personal injuries. Often times, a defendant will file bankruptcy to avoid a judgment. If you weren't driving a vehicle, are you really left without any options? Fortunately, the answer to that question is usually no. Assuming that you paid for that inexpensive uninsured motorist coverage, in most cases, it will protect you even if you weren't driving a vehicle.
People often ask why their own personal automobile insurance would apply if they weren't driving a vehicle? The answer to that question is that most car insurance covers those situations because it puts your own insurance in the place of the uninsured driver. What if you do not have personal car insurance and therefore, no uninsured motorist coverage? All may not be lost. Many car insurance policies will cover anyone who resides with the named insured. Of course, a lot of these coverage issues depend upon the actual language of the policy. Moreover, some insurance companies are better than others and are much more likely to cover these scenarios than the fly-by-night companies (think tacky commercials). It is always best to consult with someone that has specific knowledge regarding the variety of issues than come up in situations where insurance coverage is questionable. In a future article, I will discuss the interplay between a defendant's insurance coverage and underinsured motorist coverage where the defendant's policy is not large enough to cover the damages suffered by someone in a car accident.