You’re driving down Interstate 24 when something hits your driver-side door. Your car jolts to the side, and your steering wheel is barely responsive. A car pulls ahead of you, and you’re forced to stop on the shoulder. The driver who forced you off the road continues on as though nothing happened. What are you supposed to do in this situation? How do you handle insurance when you don’t have the other driver’s information?
What Happens Next?
While it’s important to get to safety after a crash, you should try to get as much information about the at-fault driver as you’re able before they’re out of sight. It’ll happen in an instant, but try to memorize or get a picture of the other driver’s license plate. If you can’t do that, try to remember their make, model, color, and decorations they might have. A dash cam can be especially useful in verifying the driver’s identity, which can help you avoid using uninsured motorist coverage in the first place.
Once you’re out of harm’s way, you need to make a few phone calls. First, you should call Tennessee Highway Patrol and report the crash. Next, you need to call your insurance company and let them know there’s been an accident. This is where it gets tricky and where you need to be concerned about uninsured motorist coverage.
Why Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is a bit of a misnomer. While it can be used in cases where the other driver is uninsured, it’s more often used in cases of hit and run or where you’re struck by a “phantom” driver. It can even be used in cases where the other driver’s insurance coverage isn’t enough to cover the damages.
In Tennessee, the insurance company must offer you uninsured motorist coverage, and that coverage must be equal to your normal policy’s bodily injury limits. However, some people choose to opt-out to save on premiums. This can leave them without a way to recover damages if they’re ever seriously injured and unable to get the other driver’s insurance.
That said, it’s essential to recognize that Tennesse’s uninsured motorist coverage only protects against bodily injuries for you and your passengers. If you come back from grocery shopping and find your bumper caved in, you would not use uninsured motorist coverage to settle the case. Instead, you’d use a separate “collision coverage” policy, which is also optional.
If you’re dealing with an uninsured motorist claim, be it a hit-and-run, an unlicensed driver, or an uninsured driver, you should consult an experienced car accident attorney. Having an attorney on your side significantly increases your chances of a successful claim and a fair recovery, especially when pursuing uninsured motorist coverage.
If you suffered serious injuries in a car crash, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Clarksville personal injury lawyer from Pete Olson Injury Attorneys, please send us an email or call (931) 286-7773.