Introduction to Accidents with Uninsured Motorists

Question: What is the most devastating thing that can happen in the aftermath of an Arizona car accident? Pain and discomfort? Prolonged hospital stay? Loss of employment? There is not right answer to this question. All of these things take a serious toll on accident victims – financially and emotionally. I am here today to take about another answer: finding out the responsible party is uninsured or underinsured.

Accidents happen every day in Arizona. One person is injured in a car accident almost every 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the number of drivers improperly insured for such accidents is increasing. A report from the insurance research council illustrates this fact. In 1999 12.7 percent of motorists were uninsured. This number jumped to 14.6 percent in 2004. A more recent study by the Insurance Research Council expects the figure of uninsured drivers to jump to a shocking 16 percent in 2010.

It is important to understand that several different driver profiles can fit into the categories of un- or under- insured motorists.

  1. Drivers that have disregarded Arizona insurance requirements and have no insurance or have let that insurance lapse
  2. Drivers that have minimum insurance coverage as required by Arizona law, which does not adequately compensate victims involved in a serious accident
  3. Hit-and-run drivers that leave the scene of an accident before insurance information is exchanged
  4. Stolen vehicles that are not covered by the insurance of the rightful owner

Uninsured Motorists in Arizona

As a motorist in Arizona, you are likely wondering how Arizona relates to national numbers regarding uninsured motorists. Let me tell you, it is not pretty. Many people have estimated that the number of uninsured drivers in Arizona at 20% or higher. It is likely that this number has only increased in light of our current economy. The good news is that Arizona law makers have taken notice.

Arizona House Bill 2224 specifies that proof of financial responsibility must be present in a vehicle at all times. It also specifies minimum liability insurance required of all Arizona drivers.

  1. $15,000 bodily injury per person
  2. $30,000 bodily injury per accident
  3. $10,000 property damage

It also instituted some pretty tough penalties for failure to carry insurance, including monetary fines of $500 to $1000. Your license and registration are also at risk if you are caught without insurance.

How to Protect Yourself against Uninsured Motorists

As a driver in Arizona, it is important that you understand the risks associated with uninsured motorists and take several steps to protect yourself.  The best thing you can do is expand your own insurance policy to include coverage of uninsured / underinsured motorists. This means that your own insurance company will cover medical bills and property damages up to policy maximums in the event that the responsible party is uninsured or underinsured.

If you have already been involved in an accident with an uninsured party, it is likely too late to expand your own coverage to include uninsured motorist protection. Litigation against the responsible party is an option, but often is difficult. Often times, uninsured motorists do not possess enough assets to make it worthwhile.

Accurate documentation of accident details is important in any accident claim. However, when dealing with an uninsured motorist, it is even more important. Write down the details of your accident close in time to when it happened. Focus on the following: time and date of accident, vehicles involved, police officers involved, and details of the accident. Take pictures of the accident location.

Contact an Arizona Car Crash Lawyer

If you have been injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist and are struggling to recover the compensation you deserve, contact us today. Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC  is a local Arizona personal injury law firm that strives to provide aggressive local representation and compassionate client service. Our attorneys will review the facts of your case free of charge to determine who is liable for your damages.