Laws in every state require carrying auto insurance of a minimum amount. However, a significant number of motorists nationwide are either uninsured or underinsured. In fact, Oklahoma reportedly has the highest number of uninsured drivers.
While drivers without auto insurance break the law, you may not realize the impact their noncompliance can have on your personal financial stability in the event of a crash. Adequate insurance will not only cover the costs if you cause an accident but also if an uninsured driver is to blame for a collision -- leaving you to foot the bill.
How can auto uninsured motorist coverage protect you financially?
If you carry insurance for underinsured or uninsured motorists, it will cover your medical expenses -- and possibly damages to your property -- if the person deemed responsible is not insured or he or she is underinsured. If you and the at-fault driver only carry the minimum amount of insurance required by law, it might not be near enough to pay for the damages. Here are some potential costs that might cause financial catastrophe:
- Hospital stay -- even a brief stay in the hospital can be costly
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room costs
- Specialized rehabilitative treatment
- Physical therapy
- Homecare by specialized nursing staff
- Lost income caused by an absence from work
You may feel comfortable thinking that your health care will cover all medical bills that arise from an automobile crash. However, medical insurance may not cover lost wages or long-term care, nor will it pay for cosmetic surgery. There will also be co-pays and deductibles to pay. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need special equipment, such as a wheel chair, and then you may have to make changes to your house to accommodate your unanticipated disability.
Your uninsured motorist coverage will also kick in if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident and the driver at fault is at large. Considering the worst-case scenarios, it is evident that adequate insurance might save you from financial ruin.
What about a civil lawsuit?
If you are the victim of a car accident that resulted from another party's negligence, you can pursue financial relief by filing a personal injury lawsuit in an Oklahoma civil court. However, if a negligent driver cannot afford to carry the mandated insurance, it might be fair to assume that he or she may not have the money to pay damages if the court issues a monetary judgment.
In any case, the thing to do is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your full range of options for receiving the compensation you need and deserve. A personal injury lawyer can handle all communications with the insurance company, along with any legal claims, while you focus on healing.