Can You Sue An Uninsured Driver?
Posted in Car accidents on February 22, 2023
According to data available from the Insurance Information Institute, we can see that Tennessee is ranked third for the most uninsured drivers in the country, with approximately 23.7% of all drivers operating without insurance period this is a major problem for Tennessee drivers. Recovering compensation after being involved in an uninsured driving accident is challenging, but can you sue an uninsured driver?
You Can Technically Sue the Uninsured Driver
If you were struck by an uninsured driver and sustained injuries or property damage, there is nothing necessarily stopping you from filing a lawsuit against that driver. Recovering compensation for car accidents typically occurs through an insurance settlement, but since the driver did not have insurance, that is not an option.
Filing a lawsuit puts the case into the civil court system in Tennessee, and this is an attempt to recover compensation by going after the at-fault driver’s personal assets, as opposed to their insurance policy. One thing that we do want to point out is that if the driver did not have the money to pay for insurance, it is not highly likely that they will have the assets necessary to cover any judgment made against them. However, that is not always the case.
If you do wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver, you must do so within one year after the crash occurs. Failing to file the lawsuit within this personal injury statute of limitations will likely mean that you will not be able to recover any compensation for your losses.
Is it Worth Filing a Lawsuit?
The main question you will have to ask yourself after an accident with an uninsured driver is – will it be worth it to file a lawsuit?
The answer to this question will depend on several factors. Again, as we mentioned above, a driver who does not have auto insurance may not have the assets needed to pay any judgment. If the driver cannot afford to pay the damages, it may not be worth going through the entire lawsuit process. If the driver does have assets that could be realized to cover some or even all of your damages, then it may certainly be worth it to file a lawsuit.
It is important to point out that filing a lawsuit is costly. Even though most attorneys take cases on a contingency fee basis (which means the attorney does not collect legal fees until after the case is successfully concluded), there is no guarantee that an attorney will take a case on without a guarantee of recovering the compensation they can use pay their own legal fees.
At the end of the day, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney for a free consultation of your case. There may not be a point in filing a lawsuit if the at-fault driver does not have the assets needed to satisfy a judgment, including relevant legal fees and other expenses that may come up along the way. Additionally, even if you are successful with your case, the at-fault driver could file for bankruptcy protection, freeing themselves from paying the claim.
When you work with a Nashville accident attorney, they may decide to run an asset and credit check on the driver to establish their financial status. If it looks like the driver is financially able, an attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit.