No one wants to be in a car accident, but stress levels can mount even higher if the other driver is not insured. In Wisconsin, there is no requirement for carrying uninsured motorist coverage, but many people are not even aware of the benefits their policies provide. If you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you may still be able to cover the damages.
What should I do after the accident?
If you are in an accident, your first priority should always be seeking medical attention for any injuries. If everyone involved seems unharmed, try to get contact info from the other driver if possible. They may flee the scene, but try to catch their license plate number or any other info if you are able.
(Keep in mind: many car crash injuries don't show up until days after the event, so consider a doctor's visit even if you seem unharmed at first. Keep any medical records. This can help later when seeking coverage or compensation for the accident.)
Always call the police after a car crash. You will want a report on record that an accident occurred. You should also take photos of the scene and any damages to your car. Gathering witness info is important too, but police may do this while on the scene.
Should I contact my insurer about coverage?
After seeking medical help, calling the police, and gathering as much info as you can from the scene, it is important to consult a personal injury attorney about your situation. Do NOT talk to your insurance company before speaking with an attorney.
Even though you have insurance coverage to protect you in situations like this, insurance companies make their money by offering as little as they can get away with. They may not be very candid about everything your policy covers either. In most cases, insurers offer less than you deserve or they may deny your coverage completely.
Even if you don't' specifically have uninsured motorist coverage, there may be other benefits in your policy that can cover your damages. An attorney can thoroughly review your policy and help you obtain the full amount that you deserve.
What if I already talked to my insurer?
If you have already spoken to your insurance company after an accident, do not accept any offers they may have made yet. Talk to a skilled attorney and understand your options before making any decisions. It may be tempting to accept an offer right away due to the financial stress of your damages and injuries, but once you accept, you cannot receive any more coverage for that accident, even if you realize their offer does not cover all the costs that come up.