Car insurance is a legal requirement for all drivers in Arizona. Unfortunately, not all drivers obey this law. If you get involved in an accident and find out that the other driver is illegally driving while uninsured or underinsured, this will complicate your claim and interfere with your ability to collect financial compensation. Here’s what you need to know after this type of car accident in Arizona.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance
In Arizona, the only required types of car insurance are bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. This insurance will pay for the other party’s medical bills and property repairs, not your own, after a car accident. For this reason, many drivers in Arizona opt to purchase other types of insurance that are not mandatory to pay for their own losses after an accident.
First-party insurance can pay for your losses after a car accident in Arizona, regardless of fault. This includes an accident involving a driver who does not have insurance. The main type of coverage is uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. This protects you if you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have automobile insurance, or not enough to fully cover your losses.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments or med pay coverage is also a helpful type of first-party insurance to buy in Arizona. Like UM/UIM insurance, med pay is not a legal requirement for Arizona drivers. However, it can protect you in the event of a car accident that you cause or after an accident with an uninsured driver. You can rely on this insurance to pay for your necessary medical bills, even if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. It can also pay for injuries to your passengers.
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
Finally, car insurance companies offer optional types of coverage known as collision and comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance pays to repair property damage to your vehicle after a car accident. Comprehensive coverage pays for property damage inflicted by causes other than a motor vehicle accident, such as vandalism or a natural disaster.
What to Do After an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accident in Arizona
If you get into a car accident in Arizona with an uninsured or underinsured driver, call the police to report the crash. The other driver will receive a citation for not having insurance, which will be noted on your police accident report. You can use a copy of this report to support your insurance claim. Once you have taken photographs of the accident and received medical care for your injuries, you may have one or more options for financial recovery:
- Turn to your own insurance policy. First, call your own car insurance company to see if you have one or more types of insurance that will cover your losses, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
- Seek compensation from the driver’s insurer. Next, if the other driver has some insurance but not enough to cover your losses, you can seek partial recovery from his or her insurance company. Your own policy may cover the remaining amount.
- File a civil lawsuit against the driver or a third party. Finally, if you do not have first-party insurance and the other driver is uninsured, you may be able to bring a civil lawsuit against the driver or a third party for contributing to your accident.
Filing a car accident lawsuit in Arizona could allow you to recover compensation directly from the driver, even if he or she does not have insurance. The courts may order wage garnishment, for example, or take out a lien against the driver’s property to repay his or her debt. If the driver does not have the money to pay, a car accident lawyer can search for a third party to hold responsible on your behalf, such as the government for a road defect. For more information about an uninsured/underinsured motorist accident, contact a lawyer for a free consultation.