Can You Sue an Uninsured Driver?

If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident with another driver and have suffered significant injuries and damage, you might well file a claim against the other driver to obtain compensation.

But what if the other driver is uninsured? Can you sue an uninsured driver?

In most cases, you can sue an uninsured driver. But if your goal is to recover damages to compensate for your accident- and injury-related expenses, suing an uninsured driver might not be the most effective method.

Because New York state follows a no-fault accident program, you will still likely be able to obtain some compensation from your insurance company even if the other driver was uninsured. Further, an uninsured driver might not have the assets or funds to cover your damages. Start by speaking with an experienced New York car accident attorney for your best bet at recovering just compensation after an accident with an uninsured motorist.

No-Fault Insurance and Your Accident

New York State’s no-fault insurance rule means that motorists must first turn to their own insurance coverage when they’re in an accident. No-fault insurance, also called Personal Injury Protection (PIP), is designed to pay car accident victims for economic losses regardless of who was at fault or whether any party was negligent.

With no-fault insurance, a New York State motorist can then recover compensation up to their policy limits regardless of the other driver’s insurance or lack thereof. Of course, even your own insurance company is unlikely to initially offer you fair compensation for your expenses. Typically, damages offered by insurance companies do not meet the actual costs of medical treatments and other accident-related expenses. In such cases, it’s best to speak with a New York personal injury attorney.

Can You Sue an Uninsured Driver in New York?

Seeking Additional Compensation

If your accident-related costs exceed the limits of your insurance policy, you might be unable to obtain enough compensation to cover the costs of your injuries; medical bills are very expensive, for example, and lost wages due to disability means a lot of lost money.

In such cases, most drivers can file a claim against the other driver. But if that driver is uninsured, this traditional compensation route won’t be possible.

  • In such cases, New York State drivers can look to Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM).
  • Insurance policies typically include UIM, as it’s relatively inexpensive and is designed to cover you against such scenarios involving an uninsured driver.

If You Want to Sue an Uninsured Driver, Consider the Outcomes

If UIM is not included in your policy or if it still won’t provide enough compensation, you might ask, can you sue an uninsured driver? You can, but, at the end of the day, an uninsured driver probably does not have the assets or wealth needed to cover your damages and recovery costs.

Even if you sue an uninsured driver and win, collecting the money you’re owed might not happen. If someone honestly does not have the money to cover your expenses, a court is unlikely to order that person to, say, sell all of their possessions and assets just to pay your expenses. Further, a personal injury lawyer will be unlikely to take a case if they do not believe that they will be able to recover compensation on your behalf.

  1. Payment Plan – If you successfully file and win a lawsuit, a court may order the defendant to make small weekly, monthly, or quarterly payments to you for damages. Once again, however, a person with limited finances and assets simply will not have the money to make large or even significant payments, and the court cannot order money to be paid that isn’t there.
  2. Another Responsible Entity – A New York accident attorney might be able to uncover another person or entity who holds responsibility for the accident you experienced. If liability extends to another party who does have insurance, you may have an additional avenue for obtaining compensation.
  3. Agreeing to Settle – Many drivers who lack car insurance do not wish to pay for the added expenses that insurance incurs. Most are probably not wealthy, especially if they feel that they are unable to pay for car insurance. However, if your accident involved a wealthy uninsured driver, or a driver who has the financial means to cover your damages, such an at-fault driver may agree to settlement, avoiding a lawsuit altogether.

Ultimately, can you sue an uninsured driver in New York? Yes. But should you sue an uninsured driver? Truthfully, it’s rare that doing so will prove a viable means of obtaining any significant monetary compensation. The situation should be assessed and considered carefully between you and your accident attorney.

Contact an Experienced New York Accident Lawyer

After you’ve been in an accident, there are, in many cases, more ways than one to obtain the compensation that you’re owed. If you’ve been injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you have other means of obtaining damages. With a skilled New York accident attorney on your side, negotiating with your insurance company to obtain fair compensation should be your first step.

If an uninsured motorist caused your accident, speak with an auto accident lawyer at Kaplan Lawyers PC. While you might wish to sue an uninsured driver, our legal team can help you explore that idea to see if it’s a viable means of getting compensation. Our New York personal injury attorneys are resolute when it comes to helping you and finding ways to obtain just compensation on your behalf.

Contact the legal team at Kaplan Lawyers PC by calling (516) 399-2364. We can provide a free consultation to learn more about your case and share how our attorneys can help you.

Attorney Jared S. Kaplan

Attorney Jared S. Kaplan has focused his career on advancing his legal knowledge though the day to day practice of law. Jared is a partner in the law firm of Kaplan Lawyers PC in Syosset, New York and has been a practicing attorney for nearly 20 years. His career started in litigation, so Jared is aware of the pitfalls in litigation and uses that knowledge in the representation of his clients in complex matters. [ Attorney Bio ]

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