Being involved in an auto accident caused by another motorist’s negligence can be a highly stressful experience, from the accident itself to dealing with vehicle repairs, medical bills, missed work, emotional distress and physical recovery. Even more overwhelming is being in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Liability insurance covers anyone a driver injures in an accident, including medical costs and vehicle repair expenses. Despite Oklahoma’s Compulsory Insurance laws that all drivers carry liability insurance, an estimated 10.5 percent of motorists are uninsured while others have only the Oklahoma minimum limits of $25,000/$50,000.
What you should do if hit by an uninsured motorist in Oklahoma depends on your own insurance coverage. Since Oklahoma is an at-fault state, the person who causes the accident is responsible for paying damages — their insurance policy covers the expenses of the accident. However, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you are left with the medical expenses and cost of vehicle repairs even if you are not at fault. This is why it is a good idea to seek advice from an experienced auto accident lawyer to be aware of your options.
What to Do After a Car Accident with an Uninsured Motorist
Call the Police
After checking for injuries, you should first call the police. The police will complete an accident report detailing what occurred as well as attempt to verify both driver’s insurance information. The police will preserve as much evidence as possible; this will aid any further investigation after the collision. They may even cite a driver for causing the accident, and if a driver is uninsured, the police may issue a citation for violating Oklahoma law. All of this information will be valuable for proving fault.
Contact Your Insurance Agent
Your next step is to contact your insurance agent to inform him or her of the accident. Do not prolong contacting your insurance company, for many companies only give you thirty days to notify them of an accident. Ask the other driver if they own the vehicle; this can help determine whether they have insurance coverage as well.
Check with your agent to verify whether you have uninsured motorist/underinsured coverage. This is offered with every auto insurance plan in the state of Oklahoma; however, residents are not required to purchase it. Nevertheless, you should have this coverage unless you specifically declined it in writing. With this coverage, receiving compensation after being hit by an uninsured driver is more likely.
Uninsured motorist coverage will pay medical bills for both you and any passengers in your vehicle. In many instances, this coverage will apply to hit and run accidents that result in personal injury. However, this coverage does not pay for vehicle repairs; instead, they are covered by your collision coverage if you have it.
Getting your insurance company to accept your uninsured motorist claim will be challenging without sufficient evidence; therefore, it is imperative that you gather evidence at the accident scene.