Driving in Tennessee without auto insurance is usually asking for trouble. Not only is it against the law, but failure to provide proof of insurance can also mean heavy fines and losing your license.
Most drivers don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around in case they get into an accident. Yet, according to Tennessee’s Financial Responsibility Laws, all at-fault drivers are liable for damages.
If you’re involved in a Tennessee accident with an uninsured motorist, your claim may look different than typical crash claims.
Report the crash to local authorities
Drivers in Tennessee must remain at the scene of a car accident until law enforcement arrives. If there are any injuries, fatalities or more than $400 in property damage, you or someone at the scene must call 911. Even if your wreck doesn’t meet these requirements, you should always call the police. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you should report the accident.
Notifying law enforcement protects you from getting false information from the uninsured driver. It also creates an official record of the accident and ensures the other driver gets a ticket. It’s your responsibility to get the uninsured driver off the road.
Once it’s known that they’re driving without insurance, it’s important to prevent it from happening again.
At the scene of the crash, get the at-fault driver’s contact information. Ask for their name, driver’s license information, plate numbers and insurance info. If the driver was on duty at work at the time of the crash, jot down the company name as well.
Even if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you will need the information they can provide to process the insurance claim. If you have a severe injury from the wreck and can’t move, the police may gather this information for you.
Go to the hospital
If you suffer an injury from the collision, seek medical care immediately. Delaying medical care could worsen your injuries and hurt your insurance claim.
Some injuries aren’t visibly noticeable. Other injuries take time to make themselves known, so you should always go to the hospital after a car wreck. Severe injuries, such as hidden traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), may have delayed symptoms but will appear on medical scans and tests.
The sooner you seek medical care, the sooner you can recover from the accident. Going to the hospital can also strengthen your future insurance claim.
Report the accident
If the other driver is uninsured, you still have to file a claim. Even though you might not be the one at fault, you’ll file a claim with your own insurance provider. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible after the wreck to file a claim. Your agent can tell you whether you have uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance.
Tennessee accepts most uninsured motorist insurance options, and most insurance companies offer this in addition to the basic requirements. UM/UIM insurance helps cover your medical bills, lost wages and property damage from a collision with an uninsured driver.
Contact a Tennessee attorney
If you don’t have UM/UIM insurance, or if your insurance company denies your claim for another reason, contact a personal injury lawyer. More than one party may be liable for your damages.
Your lawyer can help you review your options and get compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. If you’ve been injured in a car accident by an uninsured driver, don’t wait to contact a personal injury attorney.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Gilreath
Chris is a member of Gilreath & Associates, one of the leading plaintiff-exclusive firms in Tennessee. Chris handles serious personal injury cases in the Mid-South and beyond. From the start of his career, Chris has been committed to supporting the civil justice system and has taken a leadership role in that effort. He serves on the Board of Governors for the Tennessee Association for Justice, as well as the American Association for Justice. Visit Gilreath & Associates today.