Here's What You Need To Know About Compensation From Accident Caused By Uninsured Driver
According to a popular insurance company, 1 in 8 drivers are uninsured. For this reason, some vehicle owners choose to add uninsured and underinsured coverage to their insurance policies. However, some don't. It's important to understand that if you waive your right to this coverage, you will likely have a difficult time receiving compensation for your injuries from an automobile accident caused by an uninsured driver... even if you win a judgment. Here's what you need to know.
Proving they are uninsured
Unless you live in a state that does not require motorists to be insured, the driver who caused the accident may be charged criminally or fined for not having insurance. If this is the case, it would be in your best interest to wait until after the person has pleaded and/or gone through a trial before you file a personal injury lawsuit.
The reason for this is because you won't have to prove that they were uninsured as part of your civil trial if they give a guilty plea or are convicted in a criminal trial. It's a bit difficult to prove that something doesn't exist. You will be able to use the guilty plea or conviction as your proof.
It's important to weigh all the factors and risks that are involved anytime you head to court. One of the biggest factors when pursuing a lawsuit is cost, which is why you want to wait until after the criminal trial. The less legwork your lawyer has to do, the less you will owe your lawyer.
Getting a judgment & compensation
Of course when it's clear that you have a strong case, such as if an uninsured driver was intoxicated and caused an accident, you will likely win. However, winning a judgment for your personal injuries in an automobile accident lawsuit is only part of the battle. Actually receiving compensation is the other part.
Sometimes, it can be downright difficult or impossible to make someone pay even if they've been ordered by court. They simply may not have the money to pay the judgment and may never have the money. This can leave you in a difficult situation yourself, since you have medical bills to pay and possibly loss of income. However, there are a few things you can do to try to get the person to pay. Here are a few ideas.
- Garnish their wages. Everyone knows what garnished wages means. It means money is taken directly out of your paycheck before you receive it. This is a good option if the defendant refuses to pay anything, because the garnishment will be court ordered and he or she will never handle that money. The time frame for being able to garnish someone's wages due to failure to pay a judgment depends on the state's laws. The amount you can garnish cannot exceed a preset limitation, usually no more than 25% of their income, which, again, depends on the laws of the state.
- Place liens on their property. Since the defendant owes you money from a court judgment, you can place liens against his or her property. What this means is that they will not be able to receive profit from the sale of their personal property until after they have satisfied their monetary obligations to you. Liens are filed in the court. Speak with your attorney if you'd like to take this route.
- Have their driver's license suspended. In most states, you can ask the court to suspend the driver's license of someone in this type of case. Of course, not being able to drive to work could make it even more challenging for the defendant to pay you.