A cornerstone of the civil justice system is that when someone causes another to suffer injuries or monetary losses, the victim is entitled to compensation from the responsible party. In legal terms, the at-fault party is “liable” to the injured party, and auto liability insurance is the primary source of compensation when it comes to car accidents. Unfortunately, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), about one in eight drivers (12 percent) are uninsured nationwide.
If an uninsured driver hurts you, the best thing to do after seeking medical treatment is to speak to a skilled personal injury attorney. There may be other routes toward compensation available to you, and an uninsured car accident lawyer can make sure no stones are left unturned.
The Silkman Law Firm is committed to helping injury victims throughout Arizona secure the full and fair compensation they deserve for injuries sustained in car accidents they did not cause. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a skilled Arizona personal injury attorney.
What Insurance Are Drivers Required to Carry in Arizona?
To ensure that car accident victims have a source of compensation when injured in collisions caused at little to no fault of their own, most states require that drivers within their borders carry minimum levels of auto liability insurance. Arizona is no exception. Drivers within the state must carry at least the following levels of insurance:
- $25,000 for one person sustaining bodily injury or death in an accident,
- $50,000 for two or more persons sustaining bodily injury or death in an accident, and
- $15,000 for damage to others’ property.
Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to a license suspension for three months to a year and fines between $500-1,000.
Unpleasant Consequences of Accidents with Uninsured Drivers
Being injured in an auto accident is already stressful. Things only worsen when the at-fault driver does not have auto liability insurance to pay for the injuries and damage they cause.
- Legal implications– An uninsured driver who causes a collision is technically liable for the consequences. However, a driver’s lack of auto insurance is usually a sign that they do not have the financial resources to cover the costs of property damage or injuries out of pocket. Though an uninsured driver may face legal penalties for failing to comply with the law, injury victims may need to turn elsewhere in search of compensation for their losses.
- Lack of medical coverage– More specifically, victims of car accidents with uninsured drivers may be left saddled with significant medical bills. The more severe their injuries, the higher the bills will likely climb. This can be financially devastating for those without other sources of insurance or funds to cover the high cost of medical care.
- Injustice and psychological stress– Being involved in any car accident can be physically traumatic and psychologically distressing. The added financial strain that can come with being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver does not help. Victims may feel a sense of injustice or anger for being left with the short end of the stick due to another person’s irresponsible choices. They may struggle with anxiety or fear for their financial future.
Legal Options for Pursuing Compensation
Though accidents with uninsured drivers can be extremely frustrating, injured victims may be able to secure compensation by other means. For example, depending on the circumstances, they could try the following options:
- Filing a lawsuit against the uninsured driver– One option is to file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver. Though the at-fault driver may not have the liquid assets (i.e., cash) to pay for the damage they cause out of pocket, injury victims may be able to secure a judgment lien against their non-liquid assets. You may also be able to have their wages garnished, in which case you would receive a portion of their paycheck to offset the harm they caused you.
- Compensation through your own insurance – Another option is to seek compensation from your own insurance company. If you purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, your policy would effectively replace the at-fault driver’s missing insurance. While Arizona does not require motorists to carry UM/UIM insurance, many policies include it unless the policyholder rejects it in writing. Be sure to review your insurance policy carefully to understand what is covered and how to file a claim.
- Alternative sources of compensation– You may have other options depending on the circumstances of the accident. For example, if a third driver contributed to the cause of the accident, they may also owe you compensation. Similarly, if an unsafe road played a role in the accident, you could seek compensation from the government entity or property owner responsible for its maintenance. Further still, if the other driver was on the job during the accident, their employer may be liable for their actions.
A skilled attorney can identify all potential sources of compensation and determine the best course of action in your case. Therefore, the sooner you consult with a lawyer, the better. This will ensure that no options are eliminated as time goes by.
Is There a Deadline for Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits in Arizona?
Yes. The strictly enforced deadline is normally set at two years after the date of an auto accident. Subject to very limited exceptions, failure to file your lawsuit before the deadline passes will most likely result in your claim being dismissed in court.
Therefore, even if you think it is unlikely that your case will be litigated in court, you should not hesitate to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. This will ensure that the option to sue is not eliminated, as well as preserve your bargaining power in out-of-court settlement talks.
Contact an Uninsured Car Accident Lawyer Today
Were you hurt in an uninsured motorist car accident? Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer is ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. We offer free consultations and can start working on your case at no upfront cost. Contact us today to get started.