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What if you are injured by an uninsured driver?

New Jersey law mandates that all drivers have at least a basic auto insurance policy. Yet in spite of the law, many drivers operate vehicles without any coverage.

This can get them in trouble if the police pull them over and they cannot provide proof of insurance. It also triggers problems for other drivers when those uninsured drivers cause injury accidents. There are steps you can take to protect yourself from this scenario.

Make sure you are insured for "uninsured motorist"

You have many optional coverages when you sign up for auto insurance. One of the most important coverages is "uninsured motorist" (UM) insurance. This protects you in the event you get in an auto accident with a driver who lacks insurance. It also protects you if you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver who is never identified.

If you have a UM policy, then you can file a claim with your own insurance company to retrieve compensation. While many people forego this coverage, it could be a huge mistake. If you do not currently have this coverage on your policy, considering adding it as soon as possible. Although the state of New Jersey mandates auto insurance for all drivers, UM coverage is an optional add-on.

The alternatives are not promising

If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you have every right to file a lawsuit against the other driver. However, you want an attorney to walk you through the process and determine whether it is the best course of action. It is likely the uninsured driver does not have any money or assets worth pursuing. (If they did, they would probably have insurance.)

If the other driver has no coverage and you have no UM coverage, you may be left holding the bag for hospital bills and lost income. Pull out your insurance card from your glovebox. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it may be listed as "UM/UIM." If you do not have this coverage, seriously consider getting it before it's too late.

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Nusbaum Stein
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66 Sunset Strip
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Succasunna, NJ 07876

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